[First filed Jul 18, 2009]
The Canberra Times has a curious story on one Daniel Besser, going by the name of “Dr Daniel Ben-Avraham” at the ANU who was running an international joint research project despite, according to the article, not actually having scientific qualifications:
- He had convinced them he had a doctorate in physics, and in the process duped the university out of more than $2000. The ANU and Mr Besser’s international colleagues only recently found out he held no scientific qualifications.
Mr Besser is accused of having operated similar scams all over the world, convincing investors, acquaintances and colleagues to pour thousands of dollars into projects on the promise they would reimbursed when non-existent grants came in.
It seems like a lot of work for just $2,000. It might be easier to just get a second job?
[Ed] This comment was just put in by Melody (the girlfriend) and I thought it deserved a wider audience.
I AM that girlfriend and must say that the entire experience almost destroyed me.For months I had my doubts about his background but as he was recieving constant correspondence and phone calls from academics around the world, I assumed that my doubts were unfounded. I also assumed that his contact at the ANU would have verified his credentials. What I found difficult to understand was why even his so-called undergraduate history was not verified as I would have thought that even if his post-doc work was classified, his bachelors degree was accessible.
I was the person who alerted the ANU to Daniel Bessers scam and what I found most annoying was the fact that the academics at RegNet were under the assumption that the “worthwhile” work that he put forward was his own. Quite the contrary. Daniel had no scientific background but I do and was responsible for most of the research that went into this project and have all of the documantation to prove it. Contacts, research projects, feasability and calculations for grant proposals and checking all costs associated with getting the project off the ground were all my work so to give Daniel credit for outstanding work is a travesty. Daniel was the mouth only. He had no understanding of atomic theory, basic bilogical systems nor chemistry so after working at a full time job in medical science I came home to another full time job working on the project.
My experience with Daniel Besser and the ANU has not been a complete loss as I am in the process of writing a book and my resources for information are growing rapidly. Not only will it be about this project but will include other scams that he has run over a period of many years. It is a shame that the ANU chose not to press charges (egg-on-face perhaps?) as it may have brought him to justice and perhaps prevented him from destroying the lives of many others that I am certain he will victimize in the future.