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Researchers may face criminal charges for alleged grant misuse

About a year ago, Georgia Tech launched an investigation after suspicions arose about where certain grant money was actually going. Although no criminal charges have been filed yet, some expect that the local district attorney will be filing some soon. Additionally, those involved could also potentially face federal charges.

Researchers at the prestigious Georgia Tech Research Institute's Advanced Concepts Lab allegedly labeled some of its projects as classified in order to avoid too many questions about where grant money might be going. There were over 10 of these types of projects, but supposedly no research was ever attributed to them. Instead, GA Tech believes that those involved diverted these grant funds for personal use.

It is claimed that some invoices may have been completely falsified to hide money transfers to personal accounts. One researcher has even been accused of changing an invoice after he had solar panels delivered to his home instead of the university. Although GA Tech led the investigation before turning its information over to the local district attorney, the FBI has also been conducting its own investigation into the allegations. 

The FBI is likely involved as grants for researchers are often funded by federal tax dollars. While accusations are simply that and no criminal charges have been filed as of yet, those who are the subject of an investigation into any criminal matter can benefit from reviewing both state and federal law alongside their counsel. However, as defendants are fully entitled to fair and impartial proceedings no matter what the accusations may be, the prosecution must actually prove every element of any charges that are filed. Failing that, no conviction may be obtained.

Source: 11alive.com, "GA Tech says $475K stolen by employees at GTRI", Rebecca Lindstrom, Oct. 31, 2014

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