Duke University has agreed to pay the government $112.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by submitting applications and progress reports that contained falsified research on federal grants to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Justice Department announced today.
“The resources utilized by NIH and EPA to fund important research and clinical programs across the nation are limited,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “Today’s settlement demonstrates that the Department of Justice will pursue grantees that knowingly falsify research and undermine the integrity of federal funding decisions.”
“Taxpayers expect and deserve that federal grant dollars will be used efficiently and honestly. Individuals and institutions that receive research funding from the federal government must be scrupulous in conducting research for the common good and rigorous in rooting out fraud,” said Matthew G.T. Martin, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. “May this serve as a lesson that the use of false or fabricated data in grant applications or reports is completely unacceptable.”
Duke is a private university located in Durham, North Carolina. Duke receives millions of dollars in funding from NIH and the EPA for hundreds of grants each year. The settlement resolves allegations that between 2006 and 2018, Duke knowingly submitted and caused to be submitted claims to the NIH and to the EPA that contained falsified or fabricated data or statements in thirty (30) grants, causing the NIH and EPA to pay out grants funds they otherwise would not have. Specifically, the United States contends that the results of certain research related to mice conducted by a Duke research technician in its Airway Physiology Laboratory, as well as statements based on those research results, were falsified and/or fabricated.
Ivy League payments and entitlements cost taxpayers $41.59 billion over a six-year period (FY2010-FY2015). This is equivalent to $120,000 in government monies, subsidies, & special tax treatment per undergraduate student, or $6.93 billion per year..