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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ex-Lawrence Livermore Lab scientist sentenced to prison

Ex-Lawrence Livermore Lab scientist sentenced to prison over faking research to get U.S. grants 

http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/12/20/former-lawrence-livermore-lab-research-scientist-sentenced-to-prison/

I'm curious how is it that no managers are involved in this? It is not possible to bring in work-for-others projects without many layers of management approval, once once projects come in they are frequently (e.g. quarterly) reviewed by management.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is LLNL not held responsible for this?

LLNL has a culture of lying. Moses and Hurricane lied about break even fusion on NIF, redefining it to be 1% of real, agreed upon break even. Note that the press no longer touts this "achievement" and NIF is regarded as a failure.


Anonymous said...

First D2 EOS, then NIF, now this.

Anonymous said...

This was a single investigator effort. Once it became clear that fraud was involved Bruce Warner, Bill Goldstein ( at the time DS&T) and Parney Albright worked with the government to resolve the issue. Ultimately the government was happy with the restitution. Obviously the employee was terminated.

Anonymous said...

Livermore has a long history of lying to the U.S. government. NIF, Excaliber (e.g. X-ray laser), Lowell Wood's "Brilliant" Pebbles, Magnetic Fusion Test Facility (aka Yin Yag, never flipped the switch), Laser Isotope Separation (LIS), the list goes on.

Anonymous said...


Oh I am sure plenty of managers are involved in this but how are you going to prove this, I think the charges could only stick to this one guy.

In any case if this happened at LANL than it would be front page NYT news, "LANL out of control, close it down, cowboys from hell, crazy fraud, scientists, lies, nukes, culture culture culture!!!!!! ahhhh, errrr aaarrrrggggg...SPLAT.

Fortunately this happened at LLNL, so no one cares as no one has heard of LLNL and this single guy goes to jail over and done.

So now in 18 month, or sooner with good behavior, this guy will show up at LANL as a high level manager and all is good, until it is not and after the next incident occurs at LANL people will be "shocked"..."shocked" that we hired such a person. So it is and so it shall be.

Anonymous said...

The guy did some jaw-dropping unethical things and is going to prison for them, great. The underlying question is, how did management and colleagues at LLNL either not know, or know but not do anything about it? Someone willing to go that far to fabricate results must have been an unusual character, how did he get hired and by who? Did they do a lessons-learned afterwards, and what did they conclude from a root cause analysis?

Anonymous said...

So now in 18 month, or sooner with good behavior, this guy will show up at LANL as a high level manager and all is good, until it is not and after the next incident occurs at LANL people will be "shocked"..."shocked" that we hired such a person. So it is and so it shall be.


Really? I can't recall anything similar at LANL, ever. What does all this "shocked" drama refer to? Are you drunk?

Anonymous said...

"Really? I can't recall anything similar at LANL, ever. What does all this "shocked" drama refer to? Are you drunk?

December 22, 2016 at 9:52 PM"

Let me explain for the slow ones out there. The person from LLNL that is going to jail will be let out in 18 months. After that he will need a new job. His past misbehavior could either be overlooked or seen a a bonus at LANL and he could get hired at LANL as a manager. Now a person with this kind of record might seem like a liability but at LANL this will not be seen as problem as all you have to do is look at some of the recent departures of certain managers at LANL to see what I mean. I am not going give any names out but just look at this blog and you will see what I mean.

Now some of you might see the initial comment is just being cynical or satire but be honest with yourself would you really be all that surprised if in 2 years this guy shows up at LANL? I can already hear the excuses, " he is a top guy who can build programs, bring in money, he made of made a few mistakes in the past but that is LLNL for you, he is a team player and he gets along great with management...ra ra ra"

Anonymous said...

Meds, young lady. Remember your meds. Life for you is so much nicer with Mommy's little helper.

Anonymous said...

Here comes your 19th nervous breakdown....

Anonymous said...

LLNL and LANL people do not get satire.
Very serious people.
Worried about getting their kids into the Ivy League schools.
Worried about keeping their jobs and retirement.

Anonymous said...

Some do understand satire, just not many of the denizens of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Is Darin going to real, salad tossing prison?

Anonymous said...

Other than 6:48 PM, none of these other comments are useful.

Anonymous said...

Other than 6:48 PM, none of these other comments are useful.

December 23, 2016 at 5:14 PM

Only if it is accurate. No way to tell. Transparency on the part of the Lab and the Gov't would be useful, given that prosecutorial secrecy is needed.

Anonymous said...

6:48 sounds like it was written by staff relations. Glad to see them lurking here, earning their pay and demonstrating their loyalty to LLNL.

Anonymous said...

6:48 PM and 5:14 PM are probably the same staff relations person.

Anonymous said...

This story has been picked up by Retraction watch.

http://retractionwatch.com/2016/12/23/u-s-govt-physicist-sentenced-18-months-prison-fraud/

They point out a LANL connection to this story:

Here’s a link to the initial charges against Kinion. In another document, Kinion’s attorney James Phillip Vaughns argues that the government funding wasn’t all wasted, and Kinion performed legitimate research during the time in question:

The Government persists in characterizing every cent spent by IARPA and LLNL as part of the total loss that it wants the Court to believe Dr. Kinion’s project was…Dr. Kinion’s 2011 publication was co-authored by a Los Alamos scientist, Gennady P. Berman, but the Government downplays its significance because it was published before “fraud was discovered.” However, the article serves to validate Dr. Kinion’s theory (during the period he was allegedly committing the fraud) and to support the position that there was scientific value to be had from the project.

http://retractionwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Kinion-original-felony-charges.pdf

http://retractionwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Kinion-response-to-sentencing-memorandum.pdf

n article in the East Bay Times tells more of the prosecutors’ side of the story:

A much bigger loss from the fraud, however, was all the time and work by other researchers to test Kinion’s experimental components and to check and duplicate his research, prosecutors wrote [in court documents].

His fraud also wasted the opportunity others would have had to do research for the government if they had been given the grant money instead of Kinion, prosecutors argued.

Anonymous said...

http://retractionwatch.com/2016/12/23/u-s-govt-physicist-sentenced-18-months-prison-fraud/

A physicist formerly based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for faking data.

Here’s a link to the initial charges against Kinion. In another document, Kinion’s attorney James Phillip Vaughns argues that the government funding wasn’t all wasted, and Kinion performed legitimate research during the time in question:

The Government persists in characterizing every cent spent by IARPA and LLNL as part of the total loss that it wants the Court to believe Dr. Kinion’s project was…Dr. Kinion’s 2011 publication was co-authored by a Los Alamos scientist, Gennady P. Berman, but the Government downplays its significance because it was published before “fraud was discovered.” However, the article serves to validate Dr. Kinion’s theory (during the period he was allegedly committing the fraud) and to support the position that there was scientific value to be had from the project.

http://retractionwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Kinion-response-to-sentencing-memorandum.pdf

Vaughans noted that the prosecutor had sought 51 months in prison for Kinion, so

Compared to that, the 18 months he received could be viewed as a favorable outcome. Whether he actually spends any time in custody is not something he can answer at this point.

Anonymous said...

"...a nifty bit of anaphora..." It reads like it was written by a smug low-talent college freshman who thinks he is being clever.

Anonymous said...

"Compared to that, the 18 months he received could be viewed as a favorable outcome"

Zero years would be favorable and a really good lawyer would have had a counter suit for wrongful termination and would have settled for nothing less than 10 million.
Careful who you pick as your lawyer.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 12/23/16 at 5:06 AM
> Again, I do not recall LANL hiring disgraced scientists and turning
> them into managers, ever. You are full of crap. Cite an example.

Look into why Terry Wallace had to leave ASU. I'm amazed, as is anyone else who knows the facts, that he ever got a security clearance.

Anonymous said...

> Again, I do not recall LANL hiring disgraced scientists and turning
> them into managers, ever. You are full of crap. Cite an example.


I know about the Terry Wallace story, also Rich Marquez left the DOE to come to LANL. Not a scientist but another example of how LANL has no problem with previous issues with people especially if they are managers.

Anonymous said...

Marquez did much worse at LANL than he ever did in DOE. Hit on every woman who every worked for him and promoted the ones who gave in.

Anonymous said...

Look into why Terry Wallace had to leave ASU. I'm amazed, as is anyone else who knows the facts, that he ever got a security clearance.

December 31, 2016 at 12:23 AM

Ditto.

Anonymous said...

the facts? Wallace wasn't at ASU

Anonymous said...

Sex.
Drugs.
Rock and roll.

Take your pick.

Anonymous said...

At UofA or ASU you can have all three

Anonymous said...

You can have all three anywhere at all, as long as you don't need a clearance.

Anonymous said...

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant.

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