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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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Top Ten Non-Healthcare False Claims Act Recoveries of 2019

Posted  01/10/20
False Claims Act
This year, federal and state governments recovered hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to whistleblowers who came forward to report fraud under the federal False Claims Act and state False Claims Acts.  Whistleblowers reported a wide-range of misconduct involving government contracts, including fraud by defense contractors, airlines, and even a major research university.  Defendants’ deception ran the gamut...

January 7, 2020

After self-disclosing to the government about grant accounting errors in 2011, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has agreed to pay back $4.5 million in excess funds received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The errors had been in effect between two different periods, from 2007 to 2011 and from 2014 to 2017, and had caused the University to inadvertently charge salary costs to grants after the grant terms had ended.  USAO MDNC

December 19, 2019

Michigan-based biomedical research organization the Van Andel Research Institute will pay $5.5 million to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims for National Institutes of Health funding when it failed to disclose that two of its researchers had received grants from the Chinese government, and took additional steps to conceal that funding, including making misrepresentations about that Chinese funding in response to the NIH.  USAO WD MI

November 25, 2019

Two entities agreed to pay a total of $1.2 million to resolve claims that the Puerto Rico Municipality of Sabana Grande improperly subcontracted work to be performed under a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education to the Puerto Rico Department of Education for teacher training. The grant required that the work could not be performed by private entities, but the municipality subcontracted with and disbursed grant funds to private entity the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (COPUR), which further subcontracted with the company Administrative, Environmental and Sports Consultants (AESC).  The municipality will pay $500,000, and COPUR agreed to pay $700,000.  In addition, the United States seized more than $1 million from bank accounts belonging to AESC owner Irving Riquel Torres in connection with related criminal proceedings against him.  USAO PR

October 7, 2019

Following self-disclosure in 2017 and a subsequent government investigation, Drexel University has agreed to pay $189,062 to resolve its potential liability under the False Claims Act in connection with misused grants funds from the Department of Energy, the Department of the Navy, and the National Science Foundation.  Over the course of ten years, the head of the university’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Chikaodinaka D. Nwankpa, improperly spent funds from eight federal grants on personal expenses, including gentlemen clubs and sports bars.  Dr. Nwankpa eventually agreed to repay $53,328 to Drexel and resign from his position, while Drexel has since implemented policies to prevent similar misconduct.  USAO EDPA

May 21, 2019

DeKalb County, Georgia has agreed to pay the federal government $750,000 to settle claims that the county misused Department of Labor On-the-Job Training program grant funds.  OTJ funds are required to be used to reimburse employers that hire individuals with identified skills gaps.  The government alleged that DeKalb county falsely certified that it was complying with OTJ regulations, and used the funds to subsidize the wages of highly qualified county employees, allegedly requiring some to sign paperwork saying that they had received OTJ services when they had not.  USAO ND GA

May 9, 2019

After previously paying restitution of $150,000 to NASA and $50,000 to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Chicago-based operator of Aries Design Automation LLC was sentenced to three months in prison for defrauding the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIRP). To obtain $200,000 in grants and participate in federally-sponsored research, Miroslav Velev submitted false statements, including falsely representations to NASA and the NSF that Aries had secured required third party investments.  USAO NDIL

Duke Pays Big to Settle Whistleblower Charges of Scientific Research Fraud

Posted  03/28/19
Duke University Campus Plaque
On Monday, Duke University agreed to pay $112.5 million to settle charges in violating the False Claims Act by submitting falsified research on federal grants from the National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency. It is one of the largest settlements by a university for research fraud, and one the government hopes will send a strong message to the academic community. See DOJ Press...

March 25, 2019

Duke University agreed to pay $112.5 million to resolve a whistleblower case under the False Claims Act alleging that between 2006 and 2018, the university submitted claims for millions of dollars in funding under 30 different grants from the National Institutes of Health and Environmental Protection Agency that contained falsified or fabricated data or statements.  According to the U.S., in seeking funding from government entities, Duke misrepresented research conducted on mice in its Airway Physiology Laboratory, as well as the results of that research.  The whistleblower, Joseph Thomas, a former Duke employee, will receive $33.75 million from the settlement.  DOJ

March 21, 2019

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act in connection with federal grants used to fund engineering, healthcare, and scientific research. According to the DOJ, the university failed to credit the government for discounts and rebates it received on purchases, as it was required to do under award rules. USAO WDWI
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