Autism Researcher Accused Of Stealing $1 Million From CDC
A Danish researcher has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta for allegedly stealing $1 million in American grant money intended for autism research.
Federal prosecutors are seeking to extradite Poul Thorsen to face charges of wire fraud and money laundering. They say Thorson, who was overseeing research in Denmark that was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, submitted more than a dozen fraudulent invoices for grant-related work and directed the money to a personal bank account.
In total, court filings suggest that Thorson stole more than $1 million, which he used to purchase an Atlanta home, a Harley Davidson motorcycle and two cars in addition to drawing on the funds via cashier’s checks.
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“Grant money for disease research is a precious commodity,” said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, who brought the charges. “When grant funds are stolen, we lose not only the money, but also the opportunity to better understand and cure debilitating diseases.”
The money Thorson is accused of stealing was part of more than $11 million in CDC grants issued to agencies in Denmark between 2000 and 2009 to study autism, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol exposure.