A Stony Brook University professor was hit with federal charges on Thursday for filing allegedly false invoices to receive more than $200,000 in federal and state money meant for cancer-related research, officials said.
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Geoffrey Girnun was indicted on seven counts related to the theft of government funds, money laundering and wire fraud for submitting bogus receipts for cancer research-related equipment – and then using the money he received on personal expenses, such as paying off his mortgage, federal authorities said.
“As millions of Americans place their faith in programs established to fund cancer-related research, Geoffrey Girnun, a professor, allegedly siphoned money from grant funds established for this very purpose,” said William F. Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York Field Office, in a press release.
The 48-year-old Long Island man began working for SBU in 2013 and is an associate professor in the university’s Department of Pathology, as well as the director of cancer metabolomics at its Renaissance School of Medicine, according to school and federal officials.
A university spokesperson said Girnun has since been placed on administrative leave.
Around 2013 and 2017, Girnun created shell companies Atlas Metabolomics, LLC, and Empyrean Biosciences, LLC, and later filed purported invoices to the university, claiming he had purchased from the companies research equipment and services for his research projects.
The university – a victim of Girnun’s crimes – then repaid him using funds that were taken from the research grants issued by the SBU and by the National Institute of Health, according to the release.
Girnun fraudulently received a total amount of approximately $78,000 in grant money from the NIH, and about $147,000 in money from SBU as recently as September 2019, according to his unsealed indictment.
“The University is outraged and appalled by the allegations that led to the arrest of [Girnun] today,” a university spokesperson told FOX Business in an emailed statement. “This alleged behavior is absolutely contrary to the ethical and professional standards expected of our faculty.”
Girnun's attorney, Steven Siegel, did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.