Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

A former USC mathematics professor was sentenced Monday to fines, restitution and two years of probation for lying about his employment on a research grant application submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Alexander Tartakovsky, 59, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter to spend 250 hours teaching mathematics to minority and learning- disabled students.

“That’s a great idea, as far as I’m concerned,” Michael Nasatir, Tartakovsky’s lawyer, responded.

The case stems from a period when Tartakovsky was employed full-time at USC as a research professor in theoretical and applied statistics, with his salary paid primarily by grants from the government.

In 2006, Tartakovsky and his wife formed Argo Science Corp. Three years later, Tartakovksy signed a Small Business Innovation and Research application for nearly $100,000.

On the application, Tartakovsky, who now lives in Somers, Conn., falsely stated that his primary employment would be with Argo at the time of the award, even though his primary employer was actually USC.

The Energy Department ultimately awarded a research grant to Argo for the project and paid Argo about $100,000.

Tartakovsky’s false statement regarding his primary employment was material because the government would not have awarded the grant if it had known that the defendant’s primary employment was not with Argo, according to federal prosecutors.

Along with the probationary term, Walter ordered Tartakovsky to pay restitution and fines of about $300,000, of which $100,000 has already been returned to the Energy Department.

Tartakovsky pleaded guilty in October to making a false statement to the government.

—City News Service

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