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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Former professor heads to federal prison

A former engineering professor was sentenced to five months in federal prison in late December for embezzling $80,000 from the GW National Crash Analysis Center from 2002 to 2004.

The sentence is the minimum for Paul Bedewi’s level of criminal action, according to court documents. The maximum was 10 years in prison.

Bedewi fraudulently doled out $36,000 to his wife for a graduate assistant salary, though she was not even enrolled as a student, according to court documents. They stated that she made personal purchases with a credit card intended for crash center purposes.

Paul Bedewi resigned from his post in August 2004, GW spokesperson Matt Lindsay said.

Bedewi, who was deputy director of the crash center on GW’s Virginia Campus, is a cousin of former professor Nabih Bedewi, who embezzled $900,000 from the center. Nabih Bedewi, who was director of the crash center until June 2004, was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to repay $872,000 of the money lost.

The center is a joint effort between GW’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Located in Ashburn, Va., the research center’s goal has been to reduce injuries and deaths on U.S. roadways since it was founded in 1992.

After the two family members’ embezzlement was discovered, the two federal administrations withdrew funding from GW, pending proof that the University improved monitoring of grant money spending. The agencies had funded 80 percent of the crash center.

Federal money for the center was partially restored in April and fully restored Nov. 1, 2005, after more financial safeguards were put in place, University officials said.

“We worked with (the government) to ensure that our controls would make sure that we would detect this,” said Tracy Schario, director of GW Media Relations. She added that this was not a difficult task because it was GW staff that detected the missing funds in the first place.

Paul Bedewi’s lighter sentence was what he deserved, Schario said.

“I think the important thing is that he’s paid his restitution,” she said. “His punishment is appropriate.”

The court ordered Paul Bedewi to repay the University the $80,000 he embezzled plus an additional $448.52, according to court records. Schario said that while the restitution does not reflect the exact value of the behavior, GW is satisfied with it.

Federal Judge Richard W. Roberts, with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, also sentenced Paul Bedewi to two years of parole after his prison term.

Cing-Dao “Steve” Kan, who replaced Nabih Bedewi as director of the crash center, said the impact of the Bedewi’s fraud on the program was substantial.

“Many of our graduate students lost their academic adviser and they were worried about their . graduate program at GWU,” Kan said. “It also had an impact on our client, (the) U.S. Department of Transportation . since we had temporarily stopped working on the DOT related projects during the investigation.”

He said that some of the center’s projects were not adversely affected by the Bedewis’ crimes and that the center has moved on since the scandal. Kan added that the center has added technical capability and receives even more grant money than before.

“Today, the capacity of research work has exceeded that previous level before the scandal broke,” Kan said. “I believe NCAC has moved on.”

-David Ceasar contributed to this report.

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