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USEPA Office of Inspector General. Laboratory Fraud – We are still here… Bruce A. Woods, Ph.D. Overview. The Lab – The Movie OIG Overview What is Fraud We still have lab problems Laboratory Fraud Preventing Laboratory Fraud True Cases Lab Fraud Investigations within the OIG.
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Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Research Integrity
Kim – 3rd year grad student – questions use
of her data by another researcher
Hardik – postdoc researcher – dealing with
competitiveness in lab versus family life
Aaron – Principal Investigator – overwhelmed
as professor, researcher, and grant writer
Beth - Research Integrity Officer – how does
she handle allegations of research misconduct
Introduction – click above to start
Authority: Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, allows for the IG to conduct audits and
investigations into fraud, waste, and abuse within the EPA.
Overall Goal: To provide audit, evaluation, investigative, as well as advisory services resulting in improved environmental quality and human health.
GS-1811 Criminal Investigators (Special Agents)
Administer and take Oaths
Special Agents with Authority to
- Carry Firearms
- Make Arrests
- Execute Warrants
Investigate and Present Cases to the Department of Justice
Generally some ruse or artifice to perpetrate the fraud and minimize detection while giving it the appearance of legitimacy
“The deliberate falsification of analytical and quality assurance results, where failed method and contractual requirements are made to appear acceptable.”
Intentional Misrepresentation of Lab data to Hide Known or Potential Problems.
Make Data Look Better Than it Really is, With the Intent to Deceive. Usually for monetary gain.
Lying, Cheating and Stealing.
Organics – 54%
Entire Lab – 17 %
Inorganics- 14 %
Microbiology – 6%
Air – 3 %
Asbestos – 3 %
Other – 3 %
Water – 56%
Solid Waste & Emergency Response – 27 %
Air & Radiation - 11 %
Pesticides – 3%
Multimedia – 3 %
Biggest reason: TO MAKE QC PASS!
Curve does not pass response criteria
Continuing Calibration response does not match curve (% difference >)
Internal Standard areas out
Matrix spikes out
To avoid diluting or re-running sample
Why Aren’t they Caught ? ?
Results of Lab Fraud
Impacts on Data
Not Always the Bad Corporation
Step Away From The Computers
Bruce A. Woods, Ph.D.
U.S. EPA Office of Inspector General
1200 Sixth Ave., Suite 900, M/S OIG-195
Seattle, WA 98101
Office of Inspector General Hotline (2441T)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
“The minute you read something you don’t understand, you can be almost sure it was drawn up by a lawyer.”
-- Will Rogers