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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A former research oceanographer who worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been sentenced for being on China’s payroll.

Chunzai Wang, 56, was one of the foremost experts on ocean-atmosphere interaction, climate change, and hurricanes in the world.

While working for NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Wang received a salary for his services as an employee of NOAA from the People’s Republic of China, which is against the law.

Wang reportedly entered into the contractual agreement in 2010 and worked with China’s Changjiang Scholars Program and the Thousand Talents Program. Investigators say he was also involved in China’s 973 Program which “mobilizes scientific talents to strengthen basic research in line with national strategic targets of the People’s Republic of China,” according to a release from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Wang was sentenced to a term of time served.