University of North Texas Health Science Center to Pay $13 Million to Settle Claims Related to Federal Grants
DALLAS - The University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) has agreed to pay the United States $13,073,000.00 to settle claims that it inaccurately measured, tracked and paid researchers for effort spent on certain NIH-sponsored research grants, announced U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.
UNTHSC is a health-related institution of the University of North Texas System and is a recipient of National Institutes of Health (NIH) Federal research grant funding. The settlement results from a self-disclosure by UNTHSC to the United States that from January 2011 through February 2016, UNTHSC failed to ensure that its time and effort reports related to certain federally-funded grants were accurately and timely certified.
UNTHSC, as a recipient of NIH grant funds, is responsible for accurately reporting and certifying time and effort spent on these grants. Under these obligations, UNTHSC was required to demonstrate accuracy through records that accurately reflect the work performed and an appropriate system of internal controls. UNTHSC failed to meet these requirements, and as a result, received payments for inaccurately and untimely time and effort certifications and received salary payments when the correlating payments did not match the accompanying time and effort reports. The United States contends that this conduct resulted in false claims being submitted to the government. UNTHSC fully cooperated in the investigative and settlement process.
The investigation was conducted by Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Beran handled this matter on behalf of the United States.
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