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Harvard Settles Grant Overcharging Case

Harvard University is paying $1.4 million to settle a claim that a former professor there overcharged work to US federal grants, the Boston Globe reports.

"Grant fraud wastes scarce government resources and limits the availability of funding for other research," United States Attorney Andrew Lelling says in a statement.

According to the Globe, Donna Spiegelman, a former professor at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, allegedly overcharged National Institutes of Health and Health Resources and Services Administration grants by $1,359,791 between 2009 and 2014. It adds that she allegedly overstated the time and effort she and members of her lab put toward the projects. 

In particular, the US attorney's office alleges Spiegelman and her team provided statistical analysis support to other researchers, but charged their time and effort evenly across the grants, rather than accounting for the time spent on each grant individually.

The aberration was caught by Harvard in 2016 and it informed the government, the Globe adds, noting that the university has put into place procedures to prevent such overcharges.

In a statement through her lawyer, Spiegelman tells the Globe she was not informed of the settlement agreement and would not have agreed to it "because she and her team did nothing wrong."