Former UR professor William Fals-Stewart, 48, who was arrested last week on felony charges, died suddenly on Tuesday afternoon.
Fals-Stewart was pronounced dead at his Eden, N.Y. home. As of press time, the cause of death had not been determined and Eden Police Investigator Shawn Bishop the investigator authorized to speak on the developing case was unavailable for comment.
Fals-Stewart was arrested Feb. 16 on charges of grand larceny, perjury, identify theft, offering a false instrument and falsifying business records, relating to his research work at SUNY University of Buffalo (UB).
In 2007, Fals-Stewart was originally accused at a misconduct hearing run by officials of the SUNY system. He was accused of allegedly fabricating data in federally funded studies during his time at UB. Fals-Stewart conducted research at UB’s Research Institute on Addictions from 2000 until 2005, when he was forced out of his position due to these claims of misconduct in his scientific research.
According to court papers, there were discrepancies in the number of study volunteers that he reported to the National Institute for Drug Addiction. Fals-Sewart was acquitted in the case, and then attempted to sue the state for $4 million in job- and reputation-related damages.
However, prosecutors now claim that the testimony given in the 2007 hearing was not given by researchers, but by paid actors not familiar with his work testimonies that helped acquit Fals-Stewart.
The New York State Attorney General’s office filed the new charges last week. Prosecutors claimed that Fals-Stewart hired the actors and provided them scripts for their testimonies on his behalf during the 2007 investigation.
Fals-Stewart allegedly told the actors, who testified via telephone, that they were participating in a mock trial, not an actual proceeding.
‘The charges in this case allege a pattern of lies and deceit that a public employee used to attempt to defraud New York’s taxpayers of millions of dollars,” Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in his statement announcing his office’s findings. ‘The brazen crimes allegedly committed by this individual outline a series of frauds that could have damaged our outstanding SUNY system.”
After leaving UB, Fals-Stewart worked at Research Park Triangle in North Carolina before coming to UR, where he was hired as a professor at the School of Nursing in 2007.
He resigned in November 2009, and in January he filed against UR in the State Supreme Court, claiming that he should have been granting tenure at the University.
Clark is a member of the class of 2012.
Information complied from the Democrat and Chronicle, Buffalo News and the State Attorney General’s office.