Fraud in the News

'Eager beavers' get their day in court

In a July 25 article in The Wall Street Journal by Susan Pulliam and Reed Albergotti, "Plea Ends Bizarre Chapter in Probe," research consultant John Kinnucan pleaded guilty to securities fraud. The plea capped Kinnucan's 21-month tirade against the government, in which he emailed clients and eventually government officials, proclaiming his innocence and accusing the FBI of all manner of bad behavior. Writes Pulliam and Albergotti, "In a 2010 email to clients, he labeled FBI agents who questioned him 'fresh faced eager beavers'; he publicly criticized agents' tactics; and he left voice mails for agents and prosecutors laced with profanity and religious slurs, saying they had 'inflated egos.' "

What pen? You mean this pen?

In the April 2012 issue of Discover magazine, senior editor Eric A. Powell wrote an enlightening column called "20 Things You Don't Know About Science Fraud." The list includes the infamous Piltdown Man fraud — a supposed missing link between humans and apes that actually was a mix of human and orangutan bones made to look old. No one ever discovered the source of the hoax, but science historian Richard Milner believes that Sherlock Holmes' author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could be the culprit. 

Powell also writes, "In 1974, immunologist William Summerlin created a sensation when he claimed to have transplanted tissue from black to white mice. In reality, he used a black felt-tip pen to darken patches of fur on white mice. Some researchers still use 'painting the mice' to describe scientific fraud."


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