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October 21, 2021

Boulder, Colorado nonprofit The Center for Severe Weather Research paid $2.4 million to resolve allegations of fraud in federal grants received from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and NOAA.  CSWR was alleged to have improperly requested drawdowns from federal grants for expenses it had not incurred, and to have improperly retained interest accrued on federal funds received but not yet needed.  In addition, two CSWR principles, Ling Chan and Joshua Wurman, agreed to pay $203,776 to resolve allegations that they improperly obtained payments for ineligible expenses, including rental payment for CSWR offices in their personal residence.  USAO CO

September 21, 2021

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), East Carolina University (ECU), and the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (NCCV), have agreed to pay a combined $842,500 to resolve allegations of fraud in connection with the AmeriCorps program.  An investigation by the United States had found that UNC-CH, ECU, and NCCV failed to comply with multiple grant requirements and regulations, including falsely certifying the service hours worked by AmeriCorps members, falsely certifying employee salaries required to administer the program, and failing to maintain proper internal controls.  USAO EDNC

September 1, 2021

The Van Andel Research Institute has agreed to pay $1.1 million to resolve allegations of failing to disclose foreign ties in awards granted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in violation of the False Claims Act.  The foreign ties included foreign-sourced research samples and funding by the Chinese government.  In December 2019, the institute settled similar claims for $5.5 million.  With this second settlement, specific conditions have now been imposed on the remainder of the institute’s NIH grants, including a requirement that an executive-level manager personally certify to disclosures until October 2022.  USAO WDMI

August 26, 2021

Nonprofit organization the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, its former CEO Tiffany Carr, and other former officers and directors, have entered into a settlement agreement with the State of Florida to pay $5 million to resolve civil claims arising from the alleged misuse of state grant funds and excessive compensation to Carr.  The entity will be dissolved.  FL

June 8, 2021

A North-Carolina-based company, Bio-Adhesive Alliance, Inc., has been ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in restitution for making false statements on grant applications submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and National Science Foundation.  The false statements about employee roles and eligibility were made to obtain nearly $1.4 million in multiple Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program grants.  USAO MDNC

May 12, 2021

Technology company MobileActive will pay $500,000, and its principal Katrin Verclas will serve two years in prison in civil and criminal resolutions arising from the defendants' scheme to defraud the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor ("DRL").  In 2010, MobileActive applied for and was awarded a $1.4 million DRL grant to develop and promote a "mobile security toolkit" for human rights organizations and activists to use in assessing and mitigating risks associated with mobile communications. After claiming $1.2 million in grant funds, Verclas failed to respond to requests for information from the State Department; she has admitted that she failed to comply with grant requirements, and directed the funds to her personal use while concealing the nature of the transactions from MobileActive's bank.  USAO MD

November 23, 2020

A former Purdue University professor and his wife have been sentenced to 2 years’ probation each after pleading guilty to defrauding the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Additionally, Dr. Qingyou Han and Lu Shao have been ordered to pay over $1.6 million in restitution to NSF and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which had provided Shao’s company, Hans Tech, LLC with a matching grant.  As part of the guilty plea, Han and Shao admitted to devising a scheme to obtain grant money under NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program by making false statements and material omissions.  Instead, they used the funds to enrich themselves and their children.  USAO NDIN

September 11, 2020

The Scripps Research Institute will pay $10 million to settle claims that overcharged the National Institutes of Health under research grants.  Under the terms of the grants, recipients may only use grant funds on tasks that specifically relate to the funded project.  Defendant was alleged to have an inadequate system for tracking researcher time and expenses, resulting in improper charges to the government for costs unrelated to funded projects, including time spent writing new grant applications, teaching, and engaging in other administrative activities. Former Scripps employee Thomas Burris, Ph.D., will receive $1.75 million as a whistleblower reward.  DOJ; USAO MD

June 30, 2020

The University of Virginia will pay $1 million to resolve claims that it received rebates and credits on the purchase of materials and failed to account for those rebates and credits and reduce charges to the federal government in connection with federal grants and awards the university received.  USAO EDVA

May 22, 2020

The University of San Francisco has agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve allegations of knowingly presenting false and fraudulent claims in order to obtain federal grants under the AmeriCorps State and National Program to support its San Francisco Teacher Residency Program, which supplements tuition and living expenses for teacher apprentices working within the local school district.  The government’s investigation, triggered by a whistleblower’s qui tam complaint, revealed that over 1,500 timesheets had been falsified and 61 awards had been falsely certified between 2014-2016, netting the university’s program and students over $1.7 million in grants.  USAO CDCA
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