A well known obesity researcher with more than 200 articles to his name will plead guilty to making material false statements in a 1999 grant application worth $542,000 from the US National Institutes of Health, according to a plea bargain announced Thursday (March 17) in Vermont. Eric Poehlman said he fabricated data in 17 applications for US federal grants and agreed to be barred for life "from seeking or receiving funding from any federal agency in the future, including all components of the Public Health Service."

Poehlman is expected to be arraigned either this week or next. The criminal charge—an unusual step for investigations of scientists—of fraud to which he agreed to plead guilty could see the researcher go to jail for up to 5 years.

However, it is possible he will serve little or no jail time. Stephen Kelly, a prosecutor in the US Attorney's office in Vermont, told...

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