Colorado State University Professor Criminally Charged After Allegedly Faking Offer Letter From University of Minnesota

Brian R. McNaughton, a former associate professor at Colorado State University, has been criminally charged for his alleged faking of an offer of employment from the University of Minnesota to secure a raise. That $5,000 raise became a costly addition as part of a criminal charge of attempting to influence a public official.

McNaughton ran a biochemistry research group at CSU called the McNaughton Lab.

Tom Hays, Professor at University of Minnesota was the interim dean during the period of College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. He later denied ever writing the letter and express shock at the disclosure.

The Chronicle obtained a July 2017 letter that McNaughton sent to Janice Nerger, dean of Colorado State’s College of Natural Sciences.  In the letter, he admits to “a very bad decision” caused by difficult financial problems.

Like false credentials, such matters are ordinarily handed as non-criminal matters.  However in this case a fraudulent letter was allegedly in an effort to secure financial advantage.

18 thoughts on “Colorado State University Professor Criminally Charged After Allegedly Faking Offer Letter From University of Minnesota”

    1. definitely civil fraud but I guess the thing was he pulled the stunt on a public official. bad idea!

  1. A Catholic blogger I follow reviewed a series of maddening and embarrassing incidents in the Diocese of Bridgeport and offered he’d figured out what the bishop’s disciplinary standards were for clergy: “don’t screw with the money”. Institutional corruption of various sorts is the norm in higher education, and undertaken with impunity. What’s a firing offense (to which are appended criminal charges) is trying to scam a raise out of the provost. What Erma Bombeck said: “You can’t make it better, so you laugh at it”.

  2. Everyday, employees tell their boss I’ve been offered a position at another company for $$$ and I need to do what’s right for me and my family. The employer is free to let them go or pay them more. They are also free to fire them for being lied to about such an offer. This guy does the same thing but only in writing. And for that he’s facing criminal prosecution?

    Our justice system is completely effed up. How does this guy face prosecution and we have public school teachers on payroll not allowed to be fired or teach because of an offense?

  3. I think this is one of the things you are supposed to do to get a raise. I am sure the book did not say it was against the law. 😉

  4. He looks like a “dork”. He should be a candidate for Dork Hall of Fame. And, Employee Book of Shame.

  5. I think the felony charge is excessive. He has already lost his job, his reputation, and has repaid the money. He has been punished, and his punishment serves as a deterrent to others. No need to pile on with criminal charges.

  6. dhlii, I think as a private contractor you have all the freedom you want to produce a product. However if you are an employee you may be confined to certain parameters by your employer.

    1. Any difference between a private contractor and an employee is fiction.

      I exchange my productive efforts for money. Just as a person who is employed.

      My clients make plenty of demands on me – they just tend to be different demands.

      Further when each project is complete my clients often say “goodbye” often they come back later.

      Most of my work has contracts, but the contracts are not that detailed. Ultimately my most powerful tool is that I own my work.
      I can finish a project deliver it to a client, but they can not use it if they do not pay me.

      I have been employed before too. I prefer this – alot.
      But mostly it is just different constraints on the same process.

  7. Not all that bothered by this.

    U Col paid him more.
    They did so voluntarily.

    McNaughton’s conduct is immoral, but it should not be illegal.
    U Col apparently fired him. Sounds about right by me.

    I am reminded of the story of the IBM programmer who was very productive and very well paid, but all he seemed to do at work was watch cat video’s.

    Turns out he outsourced his own job to chinese developers for 1/10 of what he was being paid.

    Sounds very entrepeneurial to me.

    IBM fired him when they found out.

    I think they should have promoted him to manage outsourced sofware projects.

    But IBM was free to fire him.

    I primarily work as a consultant. Usually on a fixed fee.
    I make it clear to my clients, they are buying the results I promise.
    How I acheive those results is my own business.
    Most of the time I do all my own work. Sometimes I outsource parts.
    That is not my clients business.

  8. He forged his fate with steel and fire, then was fired for stealing.

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