Cornell settles NIH fraud lawsuit

Cornell University's linkurl:Weill Medical College;http://www.med.cornell.edu/ has agreed to pay the federal government $2.6 million to settle civil claims that it defrauded the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense in connection with research grants between 1991 to 2007. The dispute related to allegations that an unnamed Weill researcher failed to disclose all of his or her financial support in grant applications and annual reports. Funding agencies regularly use this inf

Elie Dolgin
Mar 9, 2009
Cornell University's linkurl:Weill Medical College;http://www.med.cornell.edu/ has agreed to pay the federal government $2.6 million to settle civil claims that it defrauded the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense in connection with research grants between 1991 to 2007. The dispute related to allegations that an unnamed Weill researcher failed to disclose all of his or her financial support in grant applications and annual reports. Funding agencies regularly use this information to ensure that researchers have adequate time to devote to their various projects and to make adjustments, if necessary, to the total funding provided. The US Attorney's office asserted that Weill Medical College knew, or should have known, about the researcher's omissions, according to the__ linkurl:North Country Gazette,;http://www.northcountrygazette.org/2009/03/07/weill_fraud/ __a newspaper in Chestertown, NY. The fraud charges first came to light after an undisclosed whistleblower filed a lawsuit on behalf of the government -- called a "qui tam" lawsuit...
laims that it defrauded the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense in connection with research grants between 1991 to 2007. The dispute related to allegations that an unnamed Weill researcher failed to disclose all of his or her financial support in grant applications and annual reports. Funding agencies regularly use this information to ensure that researchers have adequate time to devote to their various projects and to make adjustments, if necessary, to the total funding provided. The US Attorney's office asserted that Weill Medical College knew, or should have known, about the researcher's omissions, according to the__ linkurl:North Country Gazette,;http://www.northcountrygazette.org/2009/03/07/weill_fraud/ __a newspaper in Chestertown, NY. The fraud charges first came to light after an undisclosed whistleblower filed a lawsuit on behalf of the government -- called a "qui tam" lawsuit -- alleging a misappropriation of the taxpayer-backed funds. Weill and the fed originally reached a settlement in September 2007, but this agreement was contested by the whistleblower. linkurl:Judge William H. Pauley III,;http://www.fjc.gov/servlet/tGetInfo?jid=2803 a US district judge for the Southern District of New York, however, denied the challenge and approved the settlement, the __North Country Gazette__ reported. This isn't the first time that Weill has been in hot water for fraudulent use of public funds. In 2005, the New York City-based medical school paid a $4.4 million settlement to resolve charges raised by linkurl:Kyriakie Sarafoglou,;http://www.med.umn.edu/peds/endocrin/faculty/sarafoglou.html a pediatric endocrinologist, that it was using part of a $23 million NIH research grant for private patient care. Sarafoglou also accused the school of enrolling inappropriate study subjects and filing false reports, according to the__ linkurl:Wall Street Journal.;http://psychrights.org/research/Digest/Science4Sale/WSJPhantomStudies.htm __"My heart goes out to the researcher at Cornell who brought forth the claims of the recent case," Sarafoglou, now at the University of Minnesota Medical School, told __The Scientist__ in an email. "For many who come forward to expose alleged misuse of federal funds earmarked for medical research, the professional fallout, irrespective of the court ruling... is often devastating to the person's career in medicine." Weill spokesperson John Rodgers said that the most recent dispute only related to the allocation of grant funds, and that no Weill researchers were accused of engaging in academic misconduct. "The government's claims did not relate to the quality or scientific integrity of the research," Rodgers said in a statement. Cornell did not admit any liability or wrongdoing, but agreed to pay $2,606,751 to avoid a further legal battle.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Flagging fraud;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55287/
[17th December 2008] *linkurl:Anti-fraud physician cleared;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23416/
[10th May 2006]*linkurl:University science squads ferret out fraud;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/13380/
[11th November 2002]

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