ALBANY, NEW YORK – Gerwin Schalk, age 48, of Albany, was sentenced today to 1 year of probation for making false statements on conflict of interest certifications he submitted in connection with National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants.
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith; New York State Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro; and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s New York Region (DHHS-OIG).
United States District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also ordered Schalk to pay $70,000 in restitution and perform 50 hours of community service.
Schalk was a research scientist employed by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) in Albany, and served as deputy director of the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies.
In connection with applying for and receiving federal research grants, Schalk was required to disclose any financial conflicts of interests to DOH and its affiliate, Health Research, Inc. (“HRI”), or certify that no conflicts existed.
In pleading guilty, Schalk admitted that he knowingly and repeatedly lied about, and failed to disclose, payments he was receiving from a company whose products Schalk regularly purchased and used in connection with his research. Schalk admitted that the company paid him at least $70,000, from July 2013 to April 10, 2019, and that he signed at least 15 conflict of interest forms during that time, never once disclosing a payment from the company as he was required to do.
The company paying Schalk also billed HRI approximately $260,000 for sales of neurotechnology equipment to HRI, from 2012 through January 23, 2018, and was principally paid from federal grant money.
Schalk resigned from state employment as part of his plea agreement.
This case was investigated by the New York State Inspector General’s Office and the DHHS Office of Inspector General, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.