Break the law with federal research grants & find out what can happen.

  • May 23rd, 2022

We spend a lot of time educating prospective clients and clients on the law with regard to federal funding. Our conversations typically surround how federal dollars can and can not be spent, the ethics of putting together supporting documentation for their proposal, and how to prepare themselves to do what they actually say they are proposing.

Sometimes our prospective clients and clients just don’t know what is legal vs. not legal. While others know, and we typically hear, “Well, this grant awardee did, so it must be OK.” Or “This other consulting firm does it, so it must be OK. Why don’t you do it?

Our response is,This is the law/regulation for Federal Funding. We never want to put any client at risk and/or on the receiving end of an IRS audit or felony charges because a law was broken. Don’t break the law.

We are clear to let prospective clients and clients know that we follow the ethics of the Grant Professional Association (GPA), the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and we follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). We follow the federal government’s Uniform Guidance regulations ยง200.209 and any other regulations that apply to federal funding.

Here is a recent example of what happens when you break the law.

Lexington woman convicted of fraud in connection with federal research money

A Lexington woman has been convicted of fraud in connection with federal research grants. Jyoti Agrawal, 50, was charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and money laundering. She denied wrongdoing, but a federal court jury convicted her on the charges last week.

Here is the summary of what happened on May 2, 2022.

This grantee misrepresented information in order to get an award and kept the money for costs they did not incur. She also falsely certified how she spent the money, according to a prosecution memorandum. The grantee generated a fake letter at one point saying they had a deal with the University of Tennessee to work on an electron scanning microscope, but they knew there was no such contract, the indictment charged.

That phase of the project had a budget of $300,000. The grantee received nearly $1 million in grants based in part on falsehoods, the indictment charged. In one instance, they claimed to have a deal with a University of Kentucky professor to work on a project on cleaning up contaminated soil because he knew that would help his chances of getting the money, but there was no such deal.

It is really simple, don’t break the law and always provide truth and accuracy in proposals, documentation, and accounting.


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