Skip to main content
Press Release

Settlement With Purdue University For False Claims in Research Grant Applications to Federal Agencies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Indiana

HAMMOND - United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson and Purdue University announced a pre-suit settlement resolving allegations that an associate professor of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology in Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine falsified documentation provided to the National Institutes of Health and Department of the Army. The university will pay the government $737,391, to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act, which includes restitution and punitive damages.

Between February 2014 and June 2020, Dr. Alice C. Chang (formerly named Chun-Ju Chang) of West Lafayette, Indiana, formerly an Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences at Purdue University, falsified and fabricated data in two (2) published papers and in multiple (17) grant applications submitted to the National Institutes of Health and Department of the Army.

When the university received evidence from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calling into question the authenticity of research that Dr. Chang had included in submissions to federal agencies, Purdue University cooperated and thoroughly investigated the alleged misconduct. Purdue, based on its findings, agreed with the federal government that the funding was not deserved and should be returned.

“Academic integrity is the cornerstone of scientific research, and we take our commitment to protect U.S.-funded research grants seriously,” said U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson. “Failure to be truthful on an application for U.S.-funded grants is a violation of the law and my office will continue to make it a priority to pursue cases to recover grant funds awarded through fraud.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity has also entered into a Voluntary Exclusion Agreement with Dr. Chang banning her from any contracting or subcontracting with any agency of the United States for ten years.  As part of this agreement, she will also request that her published papers be corrected.

The settlement was reached as a result of an investigation by United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana with assistance from the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Dirk D. De Lor.

Updated November 17, 2023