Northwestern settles cancer research fraud claim

CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Chicago have announced Northwestern University has agreed to pay nearly $3 million to settle a whistleblower’s lawsuit involving alleged cancer research fraud.

The lawsuit claimed the university allowed researcher Dr. Charles L. Bennett to submit false claims under research grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Bennett allegedly billed expenses for family trips, meals and hotels for himself and friends. He also allegedly billed consulting fees for unqualified friends and relatives, including his brother and cousin.

Bennett is a former researcher and doctor at the university’s Lurie Comprehensive Center for Cancer. The allegations arise from a civil lawsuit filed by a former employee of the cancer center.

The U.S. attorney’s office says Northwestern cooperated during the investigation and doesn’t admit liability in the settlement.

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