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Indictment: AIDS Researcher Embezzled $570,000

August 26, 1996

MIAMI (AP) _ An AIDS researcher accused of using more than $570,000 in federal grant money for his own use surrendered to authorities Monday, vowing to continue his work.

Dr. Lionel Resnick was charged Aug. 21 with 49 federal counts of mail fraud and three counts of money laundering. He was released on $100,000 bond.

``This case has caused me great personal hardship but it has not interfered with my service to patients,″ said Resnick, who is in private practice. ``I will continue to fight to clear my name in this matter.″

Resnick, the former chief of research at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, is accused of using the hospital’s laboratory, staff and equipment to do virus tests for other facilities while billing his own company, Vironc Inc., for work done from 1989 to 1994.

Vironc did not have the staff or equipment to do the tests, the indictment charges, but purported to do the work for All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and AIDS researchers at the University of Miami.

Resnick later withdrew the money from the Vironc bank account for his own use, prosecutors said. They did not provide details of what the money was used for.

Resnick’s attorney, Jane Moskowitz, said the charges had nothing to do with medical fraud or malpractice _ only billing. She said she hoped to reach a plea bargain.

Questions about Resnick began when a purchasing agent at the university noticed two bills from Vironc inadvertently clipped together. A closer look showed Vironc’s billing address was Resnick’s home.

Resnick appeared on ``60 Minutes″ in 1994 to dispute claims by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention that linked the HIV strain carried dentist David Acer to his patients, including the late Kimberly Bergalis.

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