More than $165,000 stolen from SDSU Research Foundation

by Will Fritz, Senior Staff Writer

More than $165,000 was stolen from the San Diego State Research Foundation through two fraudulent wire transfers, according to university police.

An unknown suspect used fictitious information to obtain the two wire transfers, SDSUPD Cpl. Mark Peterson said.

The transfers took place on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10, but were not reported until Feb. 15, according to a police media bulletin.

Research Foundation Director of Communications Debbie Brighton said in a Feb. 27 email she could not speak to how the fraud was discovered, as it is part of the ongoing criminal investigation.

The Foundation is working with campus police to determine precisely how the incident occurred, she said.

Brighton said it expects to recover the majority of the funds through its insurance carrier.

“No major budget impact is anticipated,” she said.

The Research Foundation, a non-profit organization, receives and administers grants to SDSU researchers using funds from federal and state agencies, as well as private organizations, according to Brighton.

Most of its own funding comes from facilities, as well as administrative costs recovered from grants the Foundation administers, she said.

Campus police are teaming up with the FBI on the investigation, and the FBI is taking over as the lead investigative agency, SDSUPD Cpl. Mark Peterson said.

The FBI’s San Diego field office did not respond to a request for comment.

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