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Westport Doctor Gets A Year In Federal Prison For Defrauding Johns Hopkins

Dr. Jean-Francois Geschwind
Dr. Jean-Francois Geschwind Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. — A 53-year-old doctor from Westport will spend a year and a day behind bars — and pay restitution of nearly $600,000 — for defrauding his former employer, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, for travel expense reimbursements, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz in Baltimore sentenced Dr. Jean-Francois Geschwind on Wednesday. In addition to the prison time, he will serve three years of supervised release.

Geschwind pleaded guilty in July to four counts of mail fraud in a multi-year scheme to unlawfully obtain travel expense reimbursements from Johns Hopkins, where he was a physician in the Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology between 1998 and 2015.

Motz also ordered restitution of $583,484.31, which Geschwind paid in full.

According to his plea agreement, between 2007 and July 2015, Geschwind "made material misrepresentations and omissions in travel expense statements that he submitted or caused to be submitted to the JHU-SOM, for the purpose of obtaining travel expense reimbursements to which he was not entitled," prosecutors said.

During this time period, Geschwind submitted multiple travel expense statements for purported business expenses, which he knew were personal, such as family vacations and meals.

For example, during the summer of 2013, Geschwind obtained reimbursement from the JHU-SOM for a 13-day vacation to the United Kingdom and France by falsely representing that the he traveled to those locations to give lectures in connection with his work. As a result of Geschwind’s material misrepresentations, the JHU-SOM issued three separate checks that included reimbursements for his family vacation.

Geschwind also obtained reimbursement for expenses that he knew had already been paid, or would later be paid, by a second (and in some cases a third) entity. In seeking reimbursement for such expenses, Geschwind did not disclose to the JHU-SOM that he was seeking two (and in some cases three) reimbursements for the same expense.

For example, on a 2015 trip to Japan, Geschwind sought reimbursement for his airfare by a French-based life-sciences company, by JHU-SOM, and by the Yale School of Medicine, where he had recently joined the faculty as Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology. All three entities reimbursed Geschwind for the trip.

Prosecutors said that through these methods, Geschwind made hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expense reimbursements from JHU-SOM. His scheme was discovered when Johns Hopkins investigators in the Office of Hopkins Internal Audit conducted an extensive audit of his reimbursement requests and discovered he had received significant sums of inappropriate payments. They then referred the case to law enforcement.

Geschwind is scheduled to surrender Dec. 4.

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