Renegade Scientist Wanted By Feds For Alleged Grant Money Theft

Poul Thorsen is accused of stealing over a million dollars in autism research grant money

Courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention; FlickrPoul Thorsen is pictured in the upper right-hand corner.
Almost nothing could seem more philanthropic and transparent by its very nature – and so far removed from the money-crazed culture of, say, Wall Street – than science. But, however ironic, even such a noble enterprise is not immune to the quirks of human nature.

Poul Thorsen, a Danish scientist well known for his autism research, has landed a spot on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General's most wanted fugitives list. Thorsen is wanted on 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering and is currently awaiting extradition from Denmark, where he is believed to be hiding, officials said. He is accused of having stolen over $1 million dollars in federally awarded grant money, which he used to buy a half-million-dollar home in Atlanta, Ga., a Harley Davidson motorcycle and two cars.

Thorsen, a visiting fellow at the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the time, was a recipient of two federal grants issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999 and 2007 for research involving infant disabilities, autism, genetic disorders and fetal alcohol syndrome. The grants were initially awarded to the Danish Medical Research Council, a Danish government body, which later changed its named to the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. Thorsen later became the principal investigator responsible for administering the money, according to his indictment.

Google MapsThe home Thorsen purchased in Atlanta, Ga.
The agency also found that Thorsen had opened an account with the CDC Federal Credit Union. The invoices requested that the money be transferred there.

The first sign of suspicious activity came in 2009 when DASTI contacted the CDC over a letter it received with an official CDC letterhead asking for reimbursement for ongoing research. The letter purported that there was a remaining balance of $894,000 in the grant, according to HHS Office of Inspector General Special Agent Derrick Jackson. After confirming that the grant had already been spent, the CDC launched an investigation. It found that the letter and several prior invoices sent to the Danish agency were fraudulent and contained forged signatures of CDC employees.

"What better way to make it appear legit than to make it look like [the money] was wired directly to CDC?" Jackson said. However, anyone can set up an account with the credit union.

An unnamed CDC official, who was later exonerated, helped Thorsen wire the money that was deposited in Thorsen's credit union account while under the impression that the funds came from donations, Jackson said. The money was sent to Thorsen, his wife and others in Denmark.

Thorsen has contributed to research that disproved the link between the rising cases of autism and vaccine exposure. One in 88 children are diagnosed with autism in the United States annually, a number that has spiked by 78 percent between 2002 and 2008, according to the most recent CDC report. The cause of autism has not yet been determined.

Correction: This story was corrected at 1:15pm on October 30, 2013. Derrick Johnson was previously referred to as a CDC detective. He is a special agent at the HHS Office of Inspector General.

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Actually, the cause for Autism HAS been determined, and it is the opposite of what this criminal "Scientist" has said. Of course, if he said it was from vaccines, his research, and all that money would be done.

October 31 2013 at 5:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A million dollars, why waste time findinghim. We have more important crooks to deal with . Any huge company on wall strett

October 30 2013 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to david3830's comment

Well - that certainly is true as to Wall Street

WAtch the video "INSIDE JOB" - get it on E Bay

But you still can't let this guy get away with this - watch a venal character

He must be cursed by now

October 30 2013 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Government should not police themself.

October 30 2013 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is not the picture of a half million dollar home in Atlanta.

October 30 2013 at 12:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The federal government must have too much money to waste too not provide oversight how American citizens money is spent, or they may not care.

October 30 2013 at 12:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

so much for using your tax dollars to rubber-stamp grants with no oversight on how the money is spent...guess the government didn't have the resources to allocate to oversight, as they were too busy and over-extended imposing rediculous restrictions that stiffle american manufacturing and our manufacturing goes overseas, where ironically he is also

October 30 2013 at 11:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Patriot's Blood

Disgusting! On so many levels! But the final statement, I believe, is in Error, "The cause of autism has not yet been determined. " A study recently released Strongly Links autism with "induced labor"; prehaps the induction drug "pitosin".

October 30 2013 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bet he is a dem.

October 30 2013 at 10:17 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to ranger197172's comment

must be rep,steal from poor and keep it or give to the rich,dumd ass

October 30 2013 at 11:03 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to country287allen's comment
Patriot's Blood

What? Can't spell Republican? And I do believe stealing from the CDC, a government agency, is classified as stealing from the government, a job most recently excelled at by members of the Democrat Party. Of course, your illiteracy and limited gene-pool make it very difficult for you to understand that fact.

October 30 2013 at 11:48 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down

Dumb! He's Danish. He's most likely neither Democrat or Republican.

October 30 2013 at 11:39 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Someone stealing some canned foods for their starving children "is not a criminal".... THIS IS A !@#$ING CRIMINAL!

October 30 2013 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So did he really disprove the vaccine causality or did he lie? At this point I think it's safe to say he's not an expert on anything but scamming people. Whenever a new disorder develop the scammers come out the woodwork. As a grandparent of a child with autism I found that one must observe the child to see how he or she learns. My grandbaby who was not pot trained, could not speak or understand language and could not be taught by so called experts is now doing all the above in a year's time. The success came about because I stopped listening to experts and made the child a priority.

October 30 2013 at 10:01 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Trina's comment

Wow, Trina, what a wonderful and insightful grandparent you are. Bravo, what an accomplishment.
When children are hurt in any way we are furious. But to cheat children who are physically ill or have learning issues is lowest of the low.
Really, how could he?

October 30 2013 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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