Have a Claim?

Click here for a confidential contact or call:


Cleveland Clinic to Pay $7.6 Million to Settle Claims of NIH Grant Fraud

Posted  May 21, 2024

Last Friday (May 17), the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that the Cleveland Clinic Foundation will pay $7.6 million to settle charges of violating the False Claims Act by improperly securing several grants from the National Institutes of Health.  It is the latest in a string of DOJ enforcement actions using the False Claims Act to go after government grant fraud.

According to the government, Cleveland Clinic misrepresented its affiliation with foreign institutions in three federal grants.  Specifically, the government claimed Cleveland Clinic failed to disclose that the Principal Investigator on each grant had financial research support through other grants from foreign institutions.  NIH rules require grant applicants to disclose all sources of research support so the agency can assess whether the applicant has the time necessary to conduct the proposed research project.  It also helps NIH determine whether an applicant’s financial interests may affect its objectivity in conducting research.

In announcing the settlement, the government stressed the importance of providing accurate information on federal grant applications so the government has complete information in deciding how best to allocate its limited research funds.  U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio was very clear in expressing this sentiment:

Each year, NIH awards federal grants to support research to improve public health, but those funds are limited and the grant process is competitive.  Every entity or person who seeks such grant money must strictly play by the rules.  As stewards of taxpayer dollars, our Office takes seriously its responsibility of ensuring that grant recipients fully and accurately report all required information to NIH so that it may properly award its limited funds to deserving institutions.

HHS OIG Agent Mario Pinto agreed: “The accuracy of information reported in applications and other documentation related to federal grants is critical to ensuring that these limited funds are utilized in the most efficient and effective manner and that the integrity of the application process is upheld.”

If you have information relating to potential government grant fraud or any other government contract fraud, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will connect you with an experienced member of our whistleblower team for a free and confidential consult.