PALO ALTO—A visiting researcher at Stanford University was accused of being an active member with the Chinese military, and has been charged with visa fraud, according to a complaint released by federal prosecutors. 

The suspect is named as Chinese national Song Chen, 38, who came to the United States in December 2018 with a J-1 non-immigrant visa. Her application stated that she served in the Chinese military from 2000-2011, but that she was currently employed at a Beijing hospital, according to the criminal complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California.

The affidavit contradicts what Chen originally claimed, alleging that she still remains an active member of the Chinese military, specifically working as a physician with the Air Force General Hospital, and Fourth Military Medical University, both of which are institutions that are run by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in China. The hospital that Chen listed on her application is believed to have been used as a coverup for her real employer.

The evidence for the claim comes after investigators conducted a search on her external hard drive on June 21, 2020. According to the affidavit, investigators found a letter which she sent to the Chinese Consulate in New York, which explained that she was planning on extending her stay in the U.S. with approval from the Chinese military, because the hospital that was listed on her original application was a false claim.

Chen made her initial appearance in federal court on Monday, July 20, and has been charged with obtaining a visa by material false statements. If convicted, Chen could face a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, with a $250,000 fine.