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OIG Fugitive: Poul Thorsen

Posted Oct 30 2012 1:17am

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lists Paul Thorsen as their number one fugitive and states that he is in his home country of Denmark awaiting extradition to the U.S. to stand trial.

The OIG statement on Paul Thorsen is below. He is alleged to have defrauded the U.S. government by diverting funds intended to support research contracted by the CDC.

While he is indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud and money laundering, there is no crime involved in the massive breach of the public trust involved. Poul Thorsen’s group’s work included studies into the alleged link between vaccines and autism. His indictment has been and is being exploited by groups who wish to cast doubt on his entire group’s efforts and the results they found. There is no charge, no crime for the damage potentially done to public health efforts.

Here is the OIG statement:

From approximately February 2004 until February 2010, Poul Thorsen executed a scheme to steal grant money awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC had awarded grant money to Denmark for research involving infant disabilities, autism, genetic disorders, and fetal alcohol syndrome. CDC awarded the grant to fund studies of the relationship between autism and the exposure to vaccines, the relationship between cerebral palsy and infection during pregnancy, and the relationship between developmental outcomes and fetal alcohol exposure.
Thorsen worked as a visiting scientist at CDC, Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, before the grant was awarded.
The initial grant was awarded to the Danish Medical Research Council. In approximately 2007, a second grant was awarded to the Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation. Both agencies are governmental agencies in Denmark. The research was done by the Aarhaus University and Odense University Hospital in Denmark.
Thorsen allegedly diverted over $1 million of the CDC grant money to his own personal bank account. Thorsen submitted fraudulent invoices on CDC letterhead to medical facilities assisting in the research for reimbursement of work allegedly covered by the grants. The invoices were addressed to Aarhaus University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. The fact that the invoices were on CDC letterhead made it appear that CDC was requesting the money from Aarhaus University and Sahlgrenska University Hospital although the bank account listed on the invoices belonged to Thorsen.
In April 2011, Thorsen was indicted on 22 counts of Wire Fraud and Money Laundering.
According to bank account records, Thorsen purchased a home in Atlanta, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, an Audi automobile, and a Honda SUV with funds that he received from the CDC grants.
Thorsen is currently in Denmark and is awaiting extradition to the United States.

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