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Federal Appeals Court Upholds Fraud Verdict Against Cornell University Medical School For Misuse Of NIH Aids Funding
Date:9/6/2012

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a federal court's judgment, based on a jury finding, that Cornell University's Weill Medical College and a former faculty member submitted false claims to the National Institutes of Health on three separate occasions from 1999-2001.

The grant was awarded by the NIH from funds specifically allocated by Congress for HIV/AIDS research. A clinical neuropsychologist then at Cornell, Wilfred van Gorp, applied for a training grant from NIH, promising to train post-doctoral fellows committed to a career in research in the neuropsychology of HIV/AIDS. With the judgment affirmed, Cornell and van Gorp face a total judgment of up to $1.75 million.

Dr. Daniel Feldman, one of the fellows hired by van Gorp, brought suit in 2003 under a federal whistleblower statute, known as the False Claims Act, alleging that van Gorp and Cornell used the funds for inappropriate purposes, including requiring the fellows to see an excess of private fee-for-service patients with other medical conditions, and that the defendants failed to disclose their inappropriate use of the taxpayer money and the material changes in the program from what it promised to NIH when it applied for the funds, which Congress had particularly targeted for AIDS research.

At trial in July, 2010 before U.S. District Judge William Pauley, Dr. Feldman showed that of 165 clinical patients seen by the fellows over five years on the NIH-grant, only three patients were HIV- positive. Instead of seeing HIV- patients, the fellows engaged in more lucrative activities, often evaluating individuals referred by insurance companies or attorneys who were in litigation over disability or worker's compensation claims, or criminal defendants. Indeed, Dr. van Gorp was well-known for his expert witness testimonies for the defense of several high-profile criminal defendants in New York during that period, including mob boss V
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SOURCE Salmanson Goldshaw, P.C.
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