Retraction Watch II

Wrote about a major academic fraud scandal in accounting research. Thinking of all the research grants this academic fraud, Dr. James E. Hunton, must have received. Is anyone trying to claim the money back? Are there not criminal proceedings possible, relating to the fraudulent application of public funds? The academic fraud has, to no great surprise, disappeared, having resigned from his academic position at Bentley University “for family and health reasons”.

He was so highly thought of that he had an endowed chair, the Darald and Juliet Libby Chair in Accountancy, at Bentley University, an endowment he had held since 2002. The Libbys still have a dedicated endowment fund at Bentley. Darald R. Libby had been a Bentley graduate, who later qualified in both law and public accountancy, and was a principal owner of the Massachusetts-based David Clark Company, a manufacturer of aerospace and military equipment. Juliet Libby was a Certified Public Accountant. Fortunately, both passed before this disgrace to their funding became publicly known. Darald died in 2009, while Juliet died in April of 2012.

Hunton also wrote or co-wrote textbooks, as well as books of supposed scholarship. He also held editorial positions on academic journals, including the preeminent journal, the Accounting Review, raising the issue of the integrity of his acceptances of articles. The articles are now qualified as having been accepted by James Hunton. As recently as 2012, before his resignation at the end of that year, he had received the Mee Family Award from Bentley University for “a lifetime of scholarly work demonstrated by a distinguished faculty member.” He is not mentioned in current announcements of past award recipients.

As extracted by Margaret Soltan from the Bentley College report of its investigation:

Hunton failed to cooperate with the university’s inquiry. Despite being told to retain any relevant documents, Bentley found that Hunton had cleaned out all his physical files before leaving, and that his laptop had been wiped clean.

Other electronic records reviewed by the university found that certain documents related to Hunton’s research had been altered after allegations were first made against him in the fall of 2012.

In particular, Hunton had said that confidentiality agreements with the firms used in his data-gathering prevented him from sharing original data with his coauthors and editors. The university’s investigation found that the agreements included “unusual redactions, contradictory dates, and — most damaging of all — evidence that the documents had been revised” after allegations were raised.

Never ceasing to commit fraud. Never even attempting to come marginally clean. As Margaret Soltan discusses further:

For a guy like Hunton, who had the balls to make up vast swathes of accounting firm employees across the globe, to pretend to interview them, to create copious data about them, and to write it all up in probably hundreds of academic papers, the business of dropping out and changing his identity was probably a cinch. No doubt he’s living in Jamaica, having dyed his hair red, had facial surgery, and stolen the identity of some poor student he had twenty years ago. You ain’t gonna find Hunton.

How indictable an offence?

This is what this academic fraud looks like.

When younger:

Hunton, James

When older, a few years ago, as an allegedly distinguished research presenter:

Hunton, James 4

No need for him to dye his hair, to move into disguise.

Seems like he has been wearing wigs, inside and out, for a long time.

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About brucelarochelle

Practising Lawyer and Part-Time University Instructor (Accounting, Commercial Law, Organizational Behaviour); Part-Time Federal Tribunal Member. Non-practising Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Accountant).
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