Ex-Stony Brook professor gets prison time for stealing cancer research funds

A former Stony Brook University professor was sentenced Tuesday to one year and a day in prison for pilfering hundreds of thousands of dollars in cancer research funds and blowing the cash on personal expenses.

Geoffrey Girnun received $225,000 from the National Institutes of Health and the Long Island college to research the effects of certain molecules on cancer — but spent the money on mortgage payments and tuition for his children, according to federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York.

“The defendant’s theft of cancer research funds undermined the important mission of the National Institutes of Health, Stony Brook University and his fellow researchers, who are dedicated to curing this deadly illness,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.

Girnun, 49, of Woodmere, LI, pleaded guilty in January to one count of theft of government funds in Long Island federal court and agreed to pay full restitution. He had faced up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors say he formed two sham companies that purportedly sold research equipment. From 2013 to 2019, he submitted phony invoices to Stony Brook for goods and services supposedly related to his cancer research that were never received or provided.

Stony Brook paid the sums to the bogus companies — $78,000 of which came from the NIH — then Girnum withdrew the cash and used it on himself.

After the allegations surfaced, Girnun resigned as an associate professor in the university’s Department of Pathology of Medicine.

The sentencing was conducted by video.

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article