A former Penn State researcher is facing felony forgery and theft charges after allegations arose that improper purchases were made with university funds.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Penn State police, officers were summoned to meet with university auditor Nathan Cooke at the office of internal audit. Cooke notified officers of an ongoing internal auditing investigation relating to apparent fraudulent purchases made by Guohui Wan, 33, of Hummelstown, from October 2015 through January 2016.
Wan had been hired to conduct medical research on behalf of the Penn State College of Medicine, police said, at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Wan had been issued a Penn State purchasing card to make work-specific purchases.
According to Cooke, police said, the audit office had been alerted to discrepancies that were appearing on Wan’s purchases. Purchases reported by Wan were consistent with supplies needed to conduct research and were signed off by Wan, however, when tracked through the vendor reports, the purchases were reportedly found to be for unrelated material.
The receipt documentation had allegedly been forged or altered, police said. Among the purchases discovered were Amazon Fire TV sticks, a stud-finder, a flooring saw, flooring staples and a table saw, all purchases through Amazon.com.
During the course of the audit, Cooke reported that a meeting with Wan was held May 9, police said. When presented with the discrepancies, Wan reportedly admitted to the falsification of submitted documents.
Wan reportedly provided a written letter of explanation on May 11, police said, and resigned from his position and was separated from Penn State on May 16. Losses to Penn State allegedly totaled $2,265.23.
Wan was arraigned Tuesday before District Judge Steven Lachman, according to court documents, and charged with two felony counts of forgery and felony charges of access device fraud, theft by deception and receiving stolen property. He was released on his own recognizance.
Wan was granted an early waiver for a preliminary hearing, according to court documents. A formal arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 28.