GREENSBORO — A company owned by two former N.C. A&T State University faculty members must pay almost $900,000 in restitution for making false statements on applications that won federal grants, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina announced.
Bio-Adhesive Alliance Inc., which makes products from swine manure that can be used as a substitute to petroleum-asphalt adhesive in the construction industry, pleaded guilty in March in U.S. District Court in Greensboro to two counts of making false statements. It was sentenced Monday to repay $562,500 to the National Science Foundation and $319,199.69 to the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to court records and records with the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office, Bio-Adhesive was founded in February 2013 by Mahour Mellat-Parast, who was then an assistant professor of applied engineering and technology; Elham H. Fini, who was then an associate professor of civil, architectural and environment engineering; and Daniel J. Oldham, who was then an A&T graduate student. Mellat-Parast and Fini were co-owners, and Oldham served as the chief operating officer.
Bio-Adhesive applied for and received multiple grant awards from NSF and EPA from 2013 to 2016, eventually receiving more than $881,000, but its applications contained misrepresentations about its eligibility for some grants or about aspects of its projects. One application falsely said that a subcontract of $134,058 would be paid to N.C. A&T, and in two other cases people were identified as having roles that they had not agreed to, the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release said.