NIST Grant Recipient Sentenced for Grant Fraud; Civil Suit Filed
December 03, 2008
A jury found a research scientist guilty of intentionally misusing approximately $500,000 in NIST Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant funds to pay for numerous personal expenses including rent, home renovations, cleaning services for his condominium and miscellaneous household items. This was the first conviction at trial achieved by the DOC OIG in a fraud case involving the ATP. The grantee had received a $2 million grant for research into computerized medical imaging. A criminal investigation was launched, based on questioned costs first identified by the OIG Office of Audits, which continued to provide active assistance throughout the case.
On October 20, 2008, the former grantee was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and 3 years probation for violating 18 USC § 666, which covers theft or bribery concerning federally funded programs. The recipient was also ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution and a $100 special assessment pursuant to his conviction. In addition, $390,000 worth of computers, power tools and other items seized from his residence on orders of the court were ordered forfeited to the government.
Additionally, the government is now seeking a civil recovery and damages in excess of $4 million, as available under the False Claims Act, for the scientist's role in applying for and receiving a grant for the purpose of defrauding the United States government. On December 3, 2008, the defendant was served a civil summons in this new proceeding.