GenPhar leader John Dong placed on GPS monitoring while awaiting federal trial
The leader of a Mount Pleasant biotechnology firm, who is facing accusations of defrauding the government out of millions of federal grant dollars, will have to wear a GPS satellite monitoring bracelet as he awaits his trial.
John Dong, the chief scientist at GenPhar, was convicted in federal court of making illegal campaign contributions in March and has not been sentenced yet. He has been free on bail while awaiting his next federal trial, scheduled for November.
A judge modified his bond conditions this week to include a requirement that Dong wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, according to court filings. The move came after U.S. District Judge Weston Houck was made aware of the sentencing guidelines for Dong, a possible 51 to 63 months of imprisonment for his previous conviction.
Chris Adams, Dong’s attorney, told Houck during a hearing last week that it wasn’t necessary because Dong always appears for his court hearings and that his entire life and his daughter are here. He said Dong poses no threat of running off.
Houck issued the order for the GPS monitoring on Tuesday and ordered that the government pay for the installation, maintenance and monitoring expenses of it.
Dong’s second trial is scheduled for early November, when he will face other allegations involving GenPhar, in which he is charged with using false claims and bogus paperwork to steal $3.6 million worth of federal grant money that was intended for vaccine research. Authorities said Dong used the money to pay for lobbying and to entertain a mistress in China, among other things.
Last week, Houck also denied Dong’s request to travel to China in August. Dong’s attorneys had argued that he would lose GenPhar without the trip to China, where he was going to meet with investors to request a loan to “keep the lights on” at the firm.
But with a possible three- to four-year prison sentence hanging over Dong’s head, there was a risk that Dong might not have returned to the U.S. if would have been allowed to travel, Houck said during that hearing.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.