WASHINGTON – U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today sent a letter to Virginia Tech President Timothy Sands requesting documents and information related to the recent arrest of a Virginia Tech professor for defrauding the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the university itself.
The committee asked Dr. Sands for information on federal grants or monetary awards to the professor, documents related to the FBI’s investigation of the matter, and any documents or communication related to the university’s response to the alleged criminal activity.
The letter states in part:
In light of the highly competitive nature of government funding, the Committee is interested in understanding all the facts surrounding this case, what steps the University has undertaken to uncover the extent of the wrongdoing, and what safeguards Virginia Tech has in place to mitigate similar cases in the future.
Since February 2013, [the professor] and Cell-Free Bioinnovations Inc. (CFB), the company associated with the recipients of the federal funding, have received five awards totaling in excess of $1,100,000. The largest, a March 2016 award of $584,083, contained numerous “false statements [to NSF] concerning time and effort reporting.”
Other awards were found to be in direct violation of requirements of the NSF and DOE small business funding programs…
The Committee takes seriously violations of grant preconditions and any attempts to defraud the federal government and the American taxpayers.
The committee’s letter to Virginia Tech can be found here.
The committee has jurisdiction over environmental and scientific research and development programs, including specific legislative jurisdiction over the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer funding programs, which the professor is accused of defrauding.