CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A professor at Long Island’s Stony Brook University has been accused of stealing thousands in cancer research funds to pay off his own bills.
Geoffrey Girnun of Woodmere, New York, was released on $250,000 bail after pleading not guilty to federal charges in court on Thursday.
Prosecutors said the 48-year-old was the director of Cancer Metabolomics at Stony Brook’s Renaissance School of Medicine when $225,000 in federal and state grant money disappeared between 2013 to 2017.
A federal indictment alleges Dr. Girnun set up two sham companies that billed the university for cancer research equipment and goods that were never received.
Authorities added Girnun moved the money from the shell companies to his personal bank accounts before using the funds to pay his personal expenses, including his mortgage.
In a statement by Stony Brook University — which placed Girnun on administrative leave — said it was “outraged and appalled by the allegations.”
“This alleged behavior is absolutely contrary to the ethical and professional standards expected of our faculty,” the statement said. “The University has fully cooperated with the investigation and at this time is considered by the FBI as a victim in this matter.”
U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said “pure greed” motivated Girnun.
William F. Sweeney Jr., head of New York’s FBI office, said Girnun was abusing the faith Americans place in programs established to fund cancer-related research.
“While people continued to suffer from their illnesses, Girnun made payments toward his personal mortgage with the money he stole. His conduct is despicable, and it won’t be tolerated,” Sweeney said in a release.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)