Grant or Program Fraud
The states and federal government allocate billions of dollars annually to research universities and hospitals to perform research in, among other areas, healthcare and medical science. To receive the funds, the grant recipient must enter into an agreement that contains strict provisions governing the use of the grant funds. These provisions restrict the use of the funds to the purposes set forth and approved in the grant, and prohibit spending grant money on other projects.
Like other areas in which government money is allocated, federal- and state-sponsored healthcare and medical research programs are subject to fraud and waste. Some of the more common types of grant or program fraud include:
- falsifying a grant application in order to obtain a grant;
- falsifying research data and results;
- inflating costs and other expenses associated with the grant;
- improperly allocating grant money to unrelated research;
- shifting costs between grant programs to cover-up cost overruns; and
- mischaracterizing the purposes for which grant recipients are spending the funds.
When a grant or research program recipient engages in any fraudulent conduct, including the conduct listed above, it can be liable under the False Claims Act or similar state statute. Often, it takes a brave whistleblower to step forward and expose the fraud in a qui tam or whistleblower action.