Harvard University Professor Charles Lieber was arrested and charged on Tuesday with making a fraudulent statement in connection with aiding the People’s Republic of China, according to the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lieber, chair of Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, allegedly lied about his “participation in a Chinese foreign recruitment program,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said.

Harvard University officials said Lieber, 60, was placed on administrative leave and that the university is cooperating with federal authorities.

Lelling announced Lieber’s arrest and charges against two other Chinese nationals in a press conference at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse.

According to a statement from Lelling's office, Lieber has received more than $15 million in grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense since 2008 for his work as the principal investigator of Havard's Lieber Research Group, which specialized in nanoscience.

But, Lelling alleges, Lieber lied to investigators in 2018 and 2019 about his simultaneous involvement with a talent program out of the Chinese government that "seek[s] to lure ... foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China and reward individuals for stealing proprietary information."

"These grants require the disclosure of significant foreign financial conflicts of interest, including financial support from foreign governments or foreign entities," the statement reads. "Unbeknownst to Harvard University, beginning in 2011, Lieber became a 'Strategic Scientist' at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from in or about 2012 to 2017."

WUT paid Lieber more than $1.5 million to create a research lab at the university, prosecutors allege, in addition to a monthly stipend of $50,000 and about $158,000 in living expenses as part of his three-year contract with the Thousand Talents program. Lieber in exchange worked for the Chinese university "not less than nine months a year," the statement reads.

Lieber allegedly lied to investigators in 2018 and 2019 about his involvement with the Chinese talent program and university.

Also charged were Yanqing Ye, a Chinese national and former researcher at Boston University. Lelling said Ye failed to disclose on her visa application that she also is a lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army {PLA) and a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

BU officials said Ye, 29, left the university last spring and the university also will be cooperating with investigators.

Prosecutors allege that while studying at BU, Ye "continued to work as a PLA Lieutenant completing numerous assignments from PLA officers such as conducting research, assessing U.S. military websites and sending U.S. documents and information to China."

Lastly, Lelling announced that Zaosong Zheng, a researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, part of Harvard Medical School, was charged with attempting to smuggle nearly two dozen vials of “biological research” to China. Zheng, 30, has been detained since December of last year, officials said.

"Federal officers at Logan Airport discovered the vials hidden in a sock inside one of Zheng’s bags, and not properly packaged. .... Zheng stated that he intended to bring the vials to China to use them to conduct research in his own laboratory and publish the results under his own name," the statement reads.

Harvard officials said Zheng no longer is affiliated with the university and they are “monitoring developments in the case.”

“China is engaged in a massive, long-term campaign to steal U.S. research and technology for its own uses,’’ Lelling said.

Associate Producer Kaitlyn Locke contributed to this report.