Articles Posted in Grant Fraud

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iStock-535434995-1-300x300A postdoctoral research staff member discovered the fraud and filed a whistleblower lawsuit under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.

New York City public university Hunter College and the former director of its HIV studies center have agreed to pay a combined $575,000 to settle allegations they violated the False Claims Act by knowingly misusing National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant funding while falsely certifying their compliance with federal requirements.

The case, initiated by a qui tam whistleblower, alleged that former Hunter psychology professor Jeffrey Parsons-Hietikko improperly diverted tens of thousands of dollars in NIH grant funds to pay for personal expenses and to compensate HIV studies center staff for unrelated projects.

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iStock-1136317631-1-300x200The hiring of the subcontractors by Vescent Photonics allegedly violated conditions on the use of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funding.

Laser manufacturer and military contractor Vescent Photonics Inc. has agreed with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay $400,000 to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by improperly employing foreign subcontractors on research projects funded by U.S. government grants.

SBIR program grants
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iStock-914267502-300x163Contractor previously paid $5.6 million to resolve allegations it improperly sourced tungsten cubes from China instead of the United States for high-explosive tank rounds sold to Israel.

A federal appeals court has affirmed an award of almost $500,000 in attorney’s fees and expenses to co-whistleblowers who filed a qui tam lawsuit under the False Claims Act exposing a defense contractor’s illegal use of Chinese-sourced materials under a US-financed military procurement contract with Israel.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court order requiring the contractor, California-based Tungsten Heavy Powder & Parts, to pay the fee and expense award.

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iStock-1311468531-300x200The Rensselaerville Institute allegedly overstated its average monthly payroll to receive a larger PPP loan

The Rensselaerville Institute of Albany, New York, a community nonprofit, has paid $86,676 to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by fraudulently overstating its eligibility for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, thereby obtaining more funds than it was entitled to receive.  In the settlement, Rensselaerville admitted it fraudulently overstated the organization’s average monthly payroll on its PPP loan application and, despite being alerted to the issue by auditors, did not return the excess funds but instead applied to the government for forgiveness of the entire loan.

The fraud was exposed by Rensselaerville’s former Chief Financial Officer, who filed a qui tam whistleblower lawsuit under the False Claims Act and received a whistleblower award of $17,000 from the settlement, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

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Fourth Circuit reasons that proving the fraudulent state of mind required for False Claims Act liability would defeat any claim of qualified immunity

State or local government officials alleged to have violated the False Claims Act by defrauding the federal goveriStock-535378977-1024x796nment cannot raise “qualified immunity” as a defense, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has held.  The state of mind required to establish False Claims Act liability forecloses it, the court reasoned in U.S. ex rel. Citynet v. Gianato.

Alleged grant fraud