OIG Fugitive: Poul Thorsen - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 45 Old 10-28-2012, 04:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/fugitives/profiles.asp#thorsen

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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Thorsen is currently in Denmark and is awaiting extradition to the United States.
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#2 of 45 Old 10-28-2012, 04:54 AM
 
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"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."

So where is he now? Why is the research he was involved with, that supposedly exonerated vaccine safety, not being re-examined for fraud, especially since he also had a clear conflict of interest, being employed by the CDC at the same time as he had a contract with Aarhus that forbade such outside employment?
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#3 of 45 Old 10-28-2012, 05:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the article says he is denmark awaiting extradition to the USA for his crime

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"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."
So where is he now? Why is the research he was involved with, that supposedly exonerated vaccine safety, not being re-examined for fraud, especially since he also had a clear conflict of interest, being employed by the CDC at the same time as he had a contract with Aarhus that forbade such outside employment?
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#4 of 45 Old 11-05-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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This is currently being discussed on the non-vax forum, but I thought I would give it a bump over here in case anyone missed it.

 

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#5 of 45 Old 11-05-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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I don't know anything about this, did the research actually get done?  It sounded like he said he was going to do research and then stole the money instead?

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I don't know anything about this, did the research actually get done?  It sounded like he said he was going to do research and then stole the money instead?

 

Oh, yes it got done. I am sure you have heard of the Danish Study, which is used by mainstream as the "definitive" proof that thimerosal does not cause autism. See the thread in the not vaxing forum if you want more on this guy. 


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#7 of 45 Old 11-05-2012, 01:54 PM
 
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I don't know anything about this, did the research actually get done?  It sounded like he said he was going to do research and then stole the money instead?

 

Yes, the research actually did get done, and it is one of the major pieces of research on vaccines and autism, though certainly not the only one.   Most of the research was probably complete well before Thorson was even in charge of the CDC grant.  

 

Funny thing is, back before his theft was discovered and became news, Thorson wasn't really mentioned.  His part was too minor.  All articles, both mainstream and anti-vax alik, focused on the main authors of the study.  Then the theft was uncovered, and suddenly it seems everyone has forgotten about the actual people responsible for the bulk of the study and speak of it as if it belonged to Thorson alone.  

 

If Thorson really did take the money (and I believe that he did), then he absolutely belongs in jail.  The difference between him an Wakefield though is that he was not depending on the results of the study for his money; his scheme would have worked just as well (or failed just as well, since hew was caught) no matter what the results showed.  He was straight out stealing.  

 

So why should large and expensive bit of research be thrown out on the basis that a minor author, who was not responsible for the bulk of the work, whose work was looked at by others (and I am certain anything he touched was gone over again with a fine tooth comb once his true nature was revealed) was sticking his fingers in the money-pot and caught? 

 

How does his fraud invalidate other people's research?

 

Orac did a blog on it a year and a half or so ago which has more info (and his snarky opinions too, just to warn anyone offended by such):  http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/04/14/poul-thorsen-vaccines-fraud/

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Yes, the research actually did get done, and it is one of the major pieces of research on vaccines and autism, though certainly not the only one.   Most of the research was probably complete well before Thorson was even in charge of the CDC grant.  

 

Funny thing is, back before his theft was discovered and became news, Thorson wasn't really mentioned.  His part was too minor.  All articles, both mainstream and anti-vax alik, focused on the main authors of the study.  Then the theft was uncovered, and suddenly it seems everyone has forgotten about the actual people responsible for the bulk of the study and speak of it as if it belonged to Thorson alone.  

 

 

 

How does his fraud invalidate other people's research?

 

 

It looks like Thorsen was far from a minor player in this research, according to a Reuters story he was Principal Investigator for the project:

 

 

 

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He moved back to Denmark in 2002 to be principal investigator for the program. Prosecutors said he was also in charge of administering the research dollars, earmarked in part to study the relationship between autism and exposure to vaccines.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/13/us-crime-research-funds-idUSTRE73C8JJ20110413

 

 

I would say a principal investigator in a research study like the "Danish Study" stealing $2 million certainly makes the study suspect. Especially given how it all came about subsequent to Simpsonwood.

 

 

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In Poul Thorsen, many say, the CDC bought a high level fraud artist, to produce a high level fraudulent study - which he did..  So, why would the CDC be surprised, you might ask, when that same Thorsen defrauded THEM out of a million dollars he funneled to himself through fake billings, transferred to a bank account he made appear to be a CDC account, but was actually his?

 

 

http://www.bolenreport.com/Mark%20Geier/poulson.htm


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It's pretty easy to tell if he was major or minor. Look up the study on pub med and see if his name shows up.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021134


He's listed, but he's listed sixth of like eight authors.
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It's pretty easy to tell if he was major or minor. Look up the study on pub med and see if his name shows up.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa021134


He's listed, but he's listed sixth of like eight authors.

Flimsey. As I said Reuters reported him as Principal Investigator, and given the CDC sent him over, I would say, he was of significant importance to the project. 

 

From the second link above:

 

 

 

 

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The real question here is "Did Thorsen actually defraud the CDC, or was top CDC management part of a conspiracy to funnel money to Thorsen, and his co-conspirators, for their dirty work."  This article asks that question. And, where is the other million?

 

 

Why do I think that?

For two reasons:

(1)  Poul Thorsen is named as an author in nineteen (19) studies published since his indictment, all of which appear to be funded directly, or indirectly, by the CDC.  Go here.

 

(2)  The Danish news media Moderne Tider did an expose on Thorsen, his financial manipulations, and his friends.  Funny, but the US media never wrote anything about it (sarcasm intended).  Click here to see the article in the original Danish.  Click here to see the entire English translation. 

 

 


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#11 of 45 Old 11-05-2012, 02:55 PM
 
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Flimsy? Actually it's pretty conclusive. Maybe you aren't familiar with how people are credited on research studies.
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Flimsy? Actually it's pretty conclusive. Maybe you aren't familiar with how people are credited on research studies.

Again, he was reported by Reuters as the Principal Investigator and in many other articles too. It looks highly likely the CDC hired him to do their dirty work, maybe?

 

Here is what the Danish article says:

 

Headline: THE FATHER OF DANISH EPIDEMIOLOGICAL AUTISM-RESEARCH JOKED ABOUT BEING READY TO KILL TO MAKE HIS WAY IN THE WORLD 

 

"The Father of Danish Epidemioligical Austims-Research" doesn't make him sound like a "minor" investigator in the study to me. 

 

I am just imaging now what all the extremist pro-vaxers would be saying if Lucija Tomljenovic or some other researcher who undertakes studies that question vaccines, had been caught embezzling from the the CDC and how they would use that to discredit the study in a nano second. 

 

More from the article:

 

 

 

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Three former employees at the once so dollar-gilted danish research unit, North Atlantic NeuroEpidemiology Alliances (NANEA) tell danish newspaper Information about their years at the CDCsponsored research unit. 

Now NANEA is dead, the creator of it all, Poul Thorsen, has disappeared, and the former 
employees are talking about a story of seduction and propaganda 

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I'm not familiar with the Bolen report, but judging by their homepage it doesn't seem like a mainstream news source, or very neutral. Even if it was, one headline doesn't make it so. Especially when people have an agenda to discredit the study. The authorship on the paper is what it is and was documented when it came out a decade ago. That doesn't change no matter how many headlines try to make it look different, now.
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I'm not familiar with the Bolen report, but judging by their homepage it doesn't seem like a mainstream news source, or very neutral. Even if it was, one headline doesn't make it so. Especially when people have an agenda to discredit the study. The authorship on the paper is what it is and was documented when it came out a decade ago. That doesn't change no matter how many headlines try to make it look different, now.

This kind of information is never printed in the mainstream media so your bashing the Bolen Report is typical MO. This is why I have typed out three times a least now Reuters (mainstream media)  has said he was the PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR. The Danish story from Moderne Tide (of which I gave you the English language link above) certainly implied he was of major part of the study. No one has changed the headlines to discredit the study. Poul Thorsen did that himself by stealing.

 

 


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This kind of information is never printed in the mainstream media so your bashing the Bolen Report is typical MO. This is why I have typed out three times a least now Reuters (mainstream media)  has said he was the PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR. The Danish story from Moderne Tide (of which I gave you the English language link above) certainly implied he was of major part of the study. No one has changed the headlines to discredit the study. Poul Thorsen did that himself by stealing.

 

 

 



I wouldn't put too much weight into that term.  I am a scientist and have a role in a number of research grants.  In the grant writing stage all the researchers that will potentially be involved with with project need to be identified, and they are called "Principal Investigators" regardless of the role they play. 


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I wouldn't put too much weight into that term.  I am a scientist and have a role in a number of research grants.  In the grant writing stage all the researchers that will potentially be involved with with project need to be identified, and they are called "Principal Investigators" regardless of the role they play. 

Oh please, the man was one of the big guys in all this, for heaven sakes he was head of the North Atlantic NeuroEpidemiology Alliances (NANEA). 


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I'm not trying to bash anything. It seems pretty apparent they're neither mainstream or neutral.
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I'm not trying to bash anything. It seems pretty apparent they're neither mainstream or neutral.

No but Reuters is and so is Moderne Tide.


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Initially I only saw the Bolen report link.
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Oh please, the man was one of the big guys in all this, for heaven sakes he was head of the North Atlantic NeuroEpidemiology Alliances (NANEA). 


Relax! 

 

I'm just telling you how people are identified on grants, and chances are if you play any role in the research you are listed as a principal investigator.  There's no one handing out "Principal Investigator" crowns to those who oversee a project...everyone involved gets that designation.  And just because the designation appeared in a Rueters article or three doesn't change that (especially because information on CDC-issued grants is probably publicly accessable and would be a source for a journalist writing about this).  


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It says he was principal investigator o the program, not a particular study. I wonder if in that context it's his position title as his head of whatever institute it was.

Either way, he was six men deep not he depth chart for this particular study, and as someone already pointed out his thievery was not contingent on the results of the study. It's too bad it will be used to cast doubt on the study, though. If I was the other investigators I would be pissed.
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It says he was principal investigator o the program, not a particular study. I wonder if in that context it's his position title as his head of whatever institute it was.

Either way, he was six men deep not he depth chart for this particular study, and as someone already pointed out his thievery was not contingent on the results of the study. It's too bad it will be used to cast doubt on the study, though. If I was the other investigators I would be pissed.

If a perceived anti-vax researcher gets caught with their hand in the till, I hope you are equalling understanding and not cast doubt on the validity of their study as a result.

 

#What'sGoodForTheGoose

 

Don't you think it odd that after Thorson had been indicted, he continued to be on the CDC's payroll, both directly and indirectly?


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Yeah, I like to think I would give equal treatment.
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Initially I only saw the Bolen report link.

I gathered that. It's good to read all the links.


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This kind of information is never printed in the mainstream media so your bashing the Bolen Report is typical MO. This is why I have typed out three times a least now Reuters (mainstream media)  has said he was the PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR. The Danish story from Moderne Tide (of which I gave you the English language link above) certainly implied he was of major part of the study. No one has changed the headlines to discredit the study. Poul Thorsen did that himself by stealing.

 

 

 

I'm not familiar with Modern Tide so have no idea how reliable it is.  Not to mention, I don't read the original language, and while Google translate is a wonderful thing, it worlds with multiple meaning or different connotations depending on context often trip it up and change the meaning quite badly.  

 

Also note from the Reuters article that Thorsen moved to Denmark to take this position in 2002.  To quote from the link I posted above:

 

 

 

Quote:

The NEJM article lists its funding sources as:

Supported by grants from the Danish National Research Foundation; the National Vaccine Program Office and National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the National Alliance for Autism Research.

This article was, however, published in November 2002. Given that it takes months, sometimes even a year or more, for a manuscript to go from submission to publication, this work had almost certainly been completed and was in the publication pipeline before Thorsen took over as principal investigator of the CDC grant. The pediatrics paper, which was published after Thorsen went back to Denmark, lists its funding thusly:

The activities of the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre and the National Centre for Register-Based Research are funded by a grant from the Danish National Research Foundation. This study was supported by the Stanley Medical Research Institute. No funding sources were involved in the study design.

That’s right. The Pediatrics thimerosal study was not even funded by the CDC! Even if it were, given that large epidemiological studies take years to carry out, it probably was in the last leg of its analysis when Thorsen showed up anyway. Even worse for the “guilt by association” crowd, all of the fraudulent charges to the grant are alleged to have occurred between 2004 and 2008, as described above–well after the Danish studies were published.

 

 

Go take a quick google look through anti-vaccine sites limiting results to before his fraud was revealed.  They are usually just referred to as Danish studies with no human name attached, but when one is, it's always the "Madsen study" because she was actually the lead author.  Like here on age of autism where it is referred to as "the Madsen Denmark study."  The infamous fourteen studies page doesn't even bother mentioning any of the other authors besides Madsen.  Then you get to 2010 or so when it was known that he'd stolen money and suddenly Madsen is dropped and it's Thorsen's study, Thorsen's study, Thorsen's study. 

 

The problem with Wakefield was with his bad science.  The problem with Thorsen is that he is a crook.  Now, his obvious lack of integrity certainly could extend into other areas, which is why anything he touched should be checked and checked again.  But just toss out millions of dollars worth of research effort involving countless hours of other people's toil because one person who came in at the end (for these particular papers) turned out to be a bad apple?  Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  

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In both cases the rest of the odd of research is important, too. Wakefield diverged from the rest of the research and his results haven't been reproducible. The Danish study has been consistent with the rest of the body of theoretical and experimental research.
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I think it is theoretically possible to get the science right and still be guilty of fraud.  I could pickpocket you while correctly telling you 2+2=4.

 

Alternately, someone who is guilty of economic fraud might also be guilty of scientific fraud.  This is a man who is charged with theft and forging signatures.  He is hardly a stand-up character.  

 

 

I am left with the feeling of wanting to throw up my hands.  He is guilty of fraud - does that mean the study should also be thrown out?  Does it at least make it circumspect (I think it does).

 

It is disheartening that there is so much controversy and mess in vaccines. 


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It' funny how everyone can remember 'that guy who lied' (wakefield), but this won't make the spotlight like Wakefield did, nor will it be in the news years later like wakefield is, nor will thorsen be ostracized for what he did...it just quietly goes away.  

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#29 of 45 Old 11-06-2012, 03:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by emmy526 View Post

It' funny how everyone can remember 'that guy who lied' (wakefield), but this won't make the spotlight like Wakefield did, nor will it be in the news years later like wakefield is, nor will thorsen be ostracized for what he did...it just quietly goes away.  

 

I'm pretty sure if he's found guilty of fraud with research monies he won't be doing any more research and he'll be pretty well ostracised. 


Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences) and I'm pro-vaccine.

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#30 of 45 Old 11-06-2012, 04:56 AM
 
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What thorsen did and what Wakefield did we're very different and difficult to compare, but in many ways what Wakefield did was much worse. He did unethical research involving children and falsified results. All while acting like sort of a jerk about how he was right and everyone else was wrong.

It's also in proportion to the coverage the original study got. Wakefield was THE guy on THE study linking autism to mmr. It got a LOT of press when it came out and a lot of press when it was discredited. Thorsen was a minor researcher on one of many studies finding no link between autism and various components of vaccines.
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