MILWAUKEE — A former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) professor will plead guilty to defrauding students.
Officials say 41-year-old Yue Liu, also known as Troy Liu of Mequon, has been charged in a two-count information with wire fraud, and engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction. According to the United States Attorney's Office, Liu has signed a plea agreement acknowledging that he is guilty.
Officials say between 2016 and 2020, Liu, who was an engineering professor at UWM, devised and executed a scheme to defraud foreign students. This included obtaining money through false promises and representations from foreign students who were accepted into graduate programs at UWM.
According to court documents, Liu promised foreign students they would be part of a program run by an entity he controlled, which would pay expenses associated with their studies at UWM, including tuition. There was no such program. UWM waived the students' tuition because they were research assistants.
Liu emailed letters to students where he made false representations about the program and used a fake name he invented and using a UWM logo, according to officials.
Liu fraudulently obtained more than $1.1 million from foreign students and visiting professors. He used a portion of the money for personal purposes, including to fund investment accounts and to pay credit card expenses, the United States Attorney's Office said.
Officials say he also attempted to hide the scheme by creating a "a fraudulent research agreement between UWM and a fictitious entity purportedly based in China and using a portion of the money to fund this agreement."
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.