April 13, 2011

Poul Thorsen Indicted on 13 Counts of Fraud and 9 Counts of Money Laundering

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

Atlanta Business Chronicle
Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 3:42pm EDT

Dane indicted for defrauding CDC | Atlanta Business Chronicle

A Danish man was indicted Wednesday on charges of wire fraud and money laundering for allegedly concocting a scheme to steal more than $1 million in autism research money from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The indictment charges Poul Thorsen, 49, with 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering. The wire fraud counts each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and the money laundering counts each carry a maximum of 10 years in prison, with a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.

The federal government also seeks forfeiture of all property derived from the alleged offenses, including an Atlanta residence, two cars and a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

According to U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, the charges and other information presented in court, Thorsen worked in the 1990s as a visiting scientist at the CDC Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, when the CDC was soliciting grant applications for research related to infant disabilities.

Thorsen promoted the idea of awarding the grant to Denmark and provided input and guidance for the research. From 2000 to 2009, the CDC awarded more than $11 million to two governmental agencies in Denmark to study the relationship between autism and exposure to vaccines, between cerebral palsy and infection during pregnancy and between childhood development and fetal alcohol exposure.

In 2002, Thorsen moved to Denmark and became the principal investigator for the grant, responsible for administering the research money awarded by the CDC.

Once in Denmark, Thorsen allegedly began stealing the grant money by submitting fraudulent documents to have expenses supposedly related to the Danish studies be paid with the grant money. He provided the documents to the Danish government, Aarhus University and Odense University Hospital, where scientists performed research under the grant.

From February 2004 through June 2008, Thorsen allegedly submitted more than a dozen fraudulent invoices, purportedly signed by a laboratory section chief at the CDC, for reimbursement of expenses that Thorsen claimed were incurred in connection with the CDC grant. The invoices falsely claimed that a CDC laboratory had performed work and was owed grant money.

Based on these invoices, Aarhus University, where Thorsen also held a faculty position, transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to bank accounts held at the CDC Federal Credit Union in Atlanta -- accounts that Aarhus University believed belonged to the CDC. The CDC Federal Credit Union accounts were instead personal accounts held by Thorsen, the federal government said.

After the money was transferred, Thorsen allegedly withdrew the fraud proceeds for his own personal use to buy a home in Atlanta, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and Audi and Honda vehicles, and to get numerous cashier’s checks.

Thorsen allegedly pocketed more than $1 million from the scheme.

My prediction? Another attack will be launched on Wakefield. ;)


K Fuller said...

Where is he though? Do you think he has been vaporized?

VinceInAZ said...

I'm guessing you're right, Ginger. I'm also predicting that NONE of the networks pick up on this story. Not even "fair and balanced" FoxNews, whose fairness and balance do not extend to Autism.

Ginger Taylor said...

Karen, I think I read in an article a few weeks ago that he had turned himself in. So they may have him.

Brent Michael Heeren said...

"U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said prosecutors are arranging his extradition from Denmark."

Navigating Autism said...

Hey Anderson Cooper where is your story on this? Let's keep em honest Anderson and discuss this now with Dr. Wakefield in a less confrontational interview. PLEASE.

Minority said...

I'm hoping they at least confiscate his motorcycle as a sort of token penalty.

The lack of news coverage is very telling.

Unknown said...

correct me if i'm wrong, but are they only vilifying thorsen and not his work? is the cdc still going to rely on his "research" to say that vaccines don't cause autism?

Ginger Taylor said...

CDC has not pulled the research from their list of "14 studies" that they use to deny vaccine/autism causation.

This despite the fact that they were crap to begin with and never should have been published in the first place.