CDC researcher Poul Thorsen, who famously headed up the “Denmark Study” that many claim disproved any link between autism and vaccines, has been indicted in Atlantaby a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and defrauding research institutions of grant money.
Poul Thorson is a scientist who formerly worked for the CDC, and over the last several years, he oversaw millions of dollars in grant money that was used to conduct research to “prove” that vaccines have no link to autism. Dr. Thorson’s research papers include the famous “Danish Study” entitled Thimerosal and the occurrence of autism: negative ecological evidence from Danish population-based data. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12949291)
This paper concludes that thimerosal, the mercury-based preservative used in vaccines around the world, has no statistically significant link to autism. It is one of the key papers used by vaccination proponents who argue that thimerosal is safe to inject into young children. That Poul Thorson’s credibility is now being called into question by a federal indictment of fraud and money laundering will, of course, have ripple effects throughout both the vaccine industries and autism support groups (more about that below).
According to the official announcement of the indictment, Thorsen was awarded grant money by the CDC as far back as the 1990s. He arranged for the grant money to be awarded to an entity in Denmark, where he provided “input and guidance” for the research projects.
From 2000 to 2009, the CDC awarded $11 million in grant money to two Denmark government agencies to study, among other things, the possible link between vaccines and autism. In 2002, Thorsen moved to Denmark and became the “principal investigator” for the grant money, responsible for administering the research money that the CDC awarded.
But here’s where things get interesting: According to the Dept. of Justice, Thorsen began allegedly stealing grant money by submitting fraudulent expense documents that were supposedly related to the Danish study. These fraudulent expense documents were given to the Danish government, Aarhus University and Odense University Hospital, the institutions involved in the research.
From February 2004 through June 2008, says the DOJ indictment, Thorsen allegedly submitted over a dozen fraudulent invoices requesting reimbursement for expenses that were fabricated. Interestingly, these allegedly fraudulent invoices were signed by a laboratory section chief at the CDC, indicating that someone inside the CDC was either duped by Thorsen or potentially involved in the alleged fraud.
What was Thorsen claiming in these allegedly fraudulent invoices requesting reimbursement? He claimed that a CDC laboratory had conducted work in conjunction with the research and was owed funds out of the grant money. These invoices were then handed over to Aarhus University, where Thorsen held a faculty position. Aarhus then transferred “hundreds of thousands of dollars to bank accounts held at the CDC Federal Credit Union in Atlanta,” says the DOJ.
But here’s the clever part: Those bank accounts were not official CDC accounts at all. They were allegedly private bank accounts belonging to none other than Dr. Poul Thorsen.
Once the money was transferred into Thorsen’s private accounts, Thorsen “allegedly withdrew it for his own personal use, buying a home in Atlanta, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and Audi and Honda vehicles, and obtaining numerous cashier’s checks, from the fraud proceeds,” says the DOJ.
According to government documents, Dr. Poul Thorsen, one of the key researchers in “disproving” any link between vaccines and autism, allegedly defrauded the scientific research community of over one million dollars.
More details are revealed through a statement issued in January by Aarhus University, which sought to sever its ties with Thorsen. This letter goes on to state that Dr Thorsen was essentially hoodwinking others into thinking he was still a faculty member at Aarhus University:
In March 2009, Dr. Thorsen resigned his faculty position at Aarhus University. In the meantime, it has come to the attention of Aarhus University that Dr Thomsen has continued to act in such a manner as to create the impression that he still retains a connection to Aarhus University after the termination of his employment by the university. Furthermore, it has come to the attention of Aarhus University that Dr Poul Thorsen has held full-time positions at both Emory University and Aarhus University simultaneously. Dr Thorsen’s double Full-time employment was unauthorised by Aarhus University, and he engaged in this employment situation despite the express prohibition of Aarhus University.
Today, Thorsen is facing 13 counts of wire fraud and 9 counts of money laundering.
Thorsen now faces up to 260 years in prison from the wire fraud charges, and up to an additional 90 years in prison for the money laundering charges, plus a total of $22.5 million in possible fines. In addition, the federal indictment also contains a so-called “forfeiture provision” which seeks the forfeiture of the personal property Dr. Thorsen allegedly purchased with money he stole from the CDC’s grant activities: A house in Atlanta, two cars and a Harley Davidson motorcycle.
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