Former UCSD Scientist Charged With Defrauding U.S.

January 20, 2016

A former research scientist at the University of California at San Diego and his corporation admitted to illegally obtaining millions of dollars in government grants and contracts, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Homayoun Karimabadi, who was a research scientist at UCSD, entered into an agreement with the government on Jan. 7 to settle the charges that he and his company, SciberQuest, engaged in felony wire fraud. Among other conditions, he and SciberQuest will jointly forfeit $180,000. The corporation, which entered a guilty plea, will face an additional fine at sentencing.

In award proposals submitted to NASA and the United States Air Force, Karimabadi wrote that he was primarily employed by SciberQuest -- but in reality, he was employed full time by UCSD. He provided the false information in order to fraudulently obtain Small Business Innovation Research grants, prosecutors said. That money contributed to the over $1.9 million in salary Karimabadi received from SciberQuest between 2005 and 2013.

Karimabadi also failed to disclose all of his and SciberQuest’s current and pending grants and contracts, overstating the time he could commit to the projects he applied for. In one proposal to the National Science Foundation, Karimabadi left out 10 current and five pending grants, claiming he had only committed to three months of work per year. In reality, he had committed over 19 months of work per year to various agencies.

Note: This story has been updated to correct Homayoun Karimabadi's former title at the University of California San Diego.

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