Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Stony Brook University Professor Arrested For Theft of Cancer Research Funds

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An associate professor at Stony Brook University has been arrested for allegedly stealing state and federal funding meant for cancer research for his own use, federal authorities say.

Geoffrey Girnun, 48, of Woodmere, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and director of Cancer Metabolomics at the Renaissance School of Medicine at the university was charged on Thursday, Sept. 12, in a seven-count indictment, said the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Girnun was charged with theft of state and federal government funds, wire fraud and money laundering.

According to the indictment, Girnun allegedly submitted fraudulent invoices for research equipment to SBU from sham companies he created to conceal his theft of funds from cancer-related research grants issued by the National Institutes of Health (“NIH”) and SBU.

More: Former University of Pennsylvania athlete and coach sentenced for taking bribes

To have access to the funds, Girnun formed shell companies Atlas Metabolomics, LLC and Empyrean Biosciences, LLC, which purportedly provided research items and equipment for cancer-related research projects.

He then submitted fraudulent electronic invoices to SBU for payment to the companies for equipment, goods, and services that were never received or provided, the indictment said.

The college used NIH and SBU grant funds to pay the shell companies more than $200,000.

Once the money was received, Girnun transferred the money into his personal bank accounts and used it for personal expenses, including payments toward the mortgage on his home, the indictment said.

“Professor Girnun’s alleged theft of federal and state grant funds earmarked for cancer research can be explained in two words: pure greed,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

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