Northeastern University will pay $2.7 million to the federal government after failing to account for research funds it received from 2001 to 2010.
The National Science Foundation awarded the funds to the university to support high-energy particle physics research.
Federal prosecutors said Tuesday the school repeatedly approved advances and other payments to accounts at the organization controlled by physics professor Stephen Reucroft, without proper justification.
Officials say the school didn't notify the foundation for more than two years when it discovered problems with the accounting for paid award funds and knew that some of the money went to personal expenses.
The now-retired Reucroft didn't respond to requests for comment.
Northeastern said in a statement it self-reported the discrepancies, cooperated with investigators, and has made changes to how it monitors grant money.