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NSF OIG: Penn State Paid Nearly $400K To Settle FCA Allegations, Mischarges

Following a $151,000 settlement with the federal government involving alleged misspending on awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and three other federal agencies in 2020, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) subsequently repaid NSF $246,928, RRC has learned.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the first payment in May 2020, which it said settled allegations Penn State had violated the False Claims Act (FCA) related to funding from NSF, NASA, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.[1] The second payment has not previously been reported publicly; an NSF Office of Inspector General (OIG) semiannual report (SAR) to Congress mentioned a payment of “more than $228,000” by an institution that was related to a previous civil settlement.[2] Per OIG policy, the SAR did not identify Penn State.

According to documents—including some RRC received through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)—Penn State made a second payment to address issues related to the earlier agreement. An OIG official also told RRC the specific amount of the repayment noted in the SAR, which covered the period from April 1 to Sept. 1 of last year.

The following description of the payment appeared in the SAR:

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