Former PSU professor sentenced to prison for research fraud

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A former Penn State professor accused of defrauding the federal government of $3 million in research grants has been sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $641,000 in restitution.

“Those individuals who engage in this type of financial fraud should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable,” said IRS criminal investigator Akeia Conner.

Craig Grimes, 56, was sentenced in Harrisburg on Friday by United States District Court Chief Judge Yvette Kane. He is a former Penn State Professor of electrical engineering and is originally from Boalsburg, PA. As of January 2011, he resigned from PSU.

Grimes plead guilty to felony charges of fraud, making false statements, and money laundering in February.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Grimes received $1.2 million grant for health and clinical research with the promise that he would use $500,000 to perform a clinical study with Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Between 2006 and 2011, the clinical study was never done and Grimes used a portion of the money for his own use, the press release states. 

Grimes also lied to the federal government when he applied for a research grant in 2009, the attorney's office said.

“Abuse of the system is unacceptable, and today's sentencing underscores the seriousness of these crimes,” said Greg Friedman, Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Grimes admitted to telling federal agencies that he had no other funding for his research, when, in fact, he had already received a grant from the National Science Foundation.

“Duplicate funding fraudulently diverts … vital federal research dollars,” said Allison Lerner, Inspector General National Science Foundation.

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