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Grant and Research Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud in government grant and research programs. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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January 31, 2019

The University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) at Houston paid $2,396,769.76 to resolve allegations that its Human Genetics Center misappropriated grant funds the NIH provided for research related to the impact of genomic variation on individual health and the health of families and populations. The government began its investigation after receiving a tip that the Genetics Center had misappropriated funds to avoid returning unused funds to the NIH. DOJ

January 30, 2019

Laserlith Corporation, Black Hills Nanosystems Corporation, Blue Sky Engineering Inc., along with several corporate representatives, have paid $1.1 million in criminal restitution for making false statements in applications for loans from programs run by NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy.  Between 2012 and 2016, the companies sought funding through the agencies' Small Business Innovation Research Program and Small Business Transfer Technology Research Program, but misrepresented their status as related corporations sharing facilities and performing essentially equivalent work.  DOJ

January 29, 2019

E.M. Photonics, Inc. (“EMP”) and its Chief Executive Officer, Eric Kelmelis, will pay $2.75 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by seeking disbursements from federal agencies for falsified labor costs and duplicative work in order to maximize charges to contracts awarded by federal agencies. From January 2009 to April 2014, EMP received funds under seven different contracts and grants awarded through the federal Small Business Innovation (“SBIR”) and Small Business Technology Transfer (“STTR”) programs. EMP and Kelmelis directed EMP employees, or caused others to direct EMP employees, to complete false timesheets and submit false invoices and public vouchers for direct labor that did not occur. EMP and Kelmelis also sought and received SBIR/STTR funding for work already performed and funded by another government agency and falsely certified that such work was, in fact, non-duplicative. The government alleged that both of these schemes were designed to maximize charges to each contract or grant. DOJ

November 12, 2018

Following a whistleblower complaint, North Carolina-based Shaw University, and local building contractor, Freddy Novelo, have agreed to pay $316,900 to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act in bids for Department of Education construction contracts. To evade the department's competitive bidding requirements, the defendants had allegedly submitted false bids, then used the false bids to support their payment claims. USAO EDNC

September 28, 2018

Sentient Science Corporation has agreed to pay $2,675,000 to settle allegations that it made false claims for funding under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program administered by the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy. SBIR grants are intended to stimulate technological and research innovations by small businesses. However, the company took advantage of the program by claiming expenses that had not yet been incurred, claiming to use third-parties in order to receive additional funding, and using less qualified employees to perform work.  USAO WDNY

September 27, 2018

A ceramic materials company, LoTEC Inc. (dba Vesta Sciences), has agreed to pay $175,000 to settle claims that it committed multiple violations of the False Claims Act. The alleged fraud involved transferring and loaning out money awarded to them under the Small Business Innovation Research Program by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Army. Additionally, LoTEC was accused of making false certifications, and improperly recording hours worked. USAO NJ

September 20, 2018

The Texas A&M Research Foundation (TAMRF) has agreed to pay $750,00 to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by charging various federal agencies for grant-related expenses not qualified to be paid under the rules of the grants. According to a whistleblower lawsuit filed by an undisclosed number of current employees, TAMRF's improper charges ranged from overstating salaries, to inflating expenses, to expenses for completely unrelated subjects and unapproved persons. Some of the agencies affected include the Department of Education (ED), Department of Energy (DOE), NASA, National Science Foundation (NSF), and Department of Transportation (DOT). USAO SDTX

September 19, 2018

A nonprofit organization and its management company have agreed to pay $528,575.82 to settle False Claims Act-based allegations of grant fraud in connection with the Department of Justice's National Justice Information Sharing Initiative. In applying for grants, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, Inc. (NASCIO) allegedly failed to follow rules requiring the disclosure of conflicts of interest relating to American Management Resources, Inc. (AMR), which if disclosed would have disqualified NASCIO from receiving any grants. USAO EDKY

August 15, 2018

A Florida landlord has paid $50,000 to end an investigation under the False Claims Act that he improperly charged certain low income tenants whose rents were subsidized by a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. In choosing to participate in and receive subsidies from the Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 (HCV) program, Edward Daniel had agreed to charge no more than was authorized by the local public housing agency. Instead, he allegedly charged unauthorized parking fees and excessively high rents, and quietly received double subsidies for overlapping periods from various public housing authorities. USAO SDFL

June 11, 2018

Two Massachusetts landlords, Latchmin Nannan and David Nannan, and a property manager, Rhea Nannan, will collectively pay $57,000 to resolve whistleblower Kafer Nevins’s allegations they overcharged low income Section 8 tenants, and thus improperly collected housing subsidies from the government in violation of the False Claims Act. The whistleblower, one of the overcharged tenants, will receive a share of the government’s recovery. USAO MA
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