Two former employees of Bata Shoe Co. in Belcamp were charged Thursday in federal court in a kickback scheme related to a $4.8 million contract for cold-weather military boots.
Zdenek Formanek, 71, of Aberdeen, a former Bata purchasing agent, was indicted by a federal grand jury on suspicion of violating the 1986 Anti-Kickback Law.
The indictment specifically charges Formanek -- who left Bata in 1982 to work for one of Bata's suppliers -- with paying kickbacks between 1985 and 1989 to Alvin Greininger, who succeeded Formanek as Bata's purchasing agent.
In separate documents filed by the U.S. Attorney Thursday, Greininger also was charged with violating the federal Anti-Kickback Law. Greininger was charged with soliciting more than $37,000 in kickbacks from Bata suppliers, including Bell Container Corp., the New Jersey company that employed Formanek.
Greininger, 58, of Havre de Grace, was laid off by Bata in August when the company trimmed its staff.
Court documents say that more than $11,000 was paid to Greininger as part of the kickback scheme involving defense department contracts.
"There's no reason to suspect anyone else at Bata was involved," said Mark W. Spaulding, a special agent of the U.S. Defense Department's Criminal Investigative Service.
"As far as we can determine, a person at Bata took advantage of his position for personal gain," Spaulding said. "Greininger had worked for Formanek, and what had been going on when Formanek was there continued."
Brian Letten, a Bata spokesman, said the company had no comment on the charges.
U.S. Attorney Breckinridge L. Willcox also charged Bata suppliers Bell Container Corp. of Newark, N.J., and Kurt Faulhammer of Gansevoort, N.Y., with violating kickback laws.
Bell Container, which makes cardboard boxes, and Faulhammer are also accused of paying kickbacks to Greininger. Faulhammer is owner and president of K & R Knitting Inc., a Wilbraham, Mass., subcontractor to Bata.
Spaulding said the charges against Greininger and Formanek were the result of an 18-month investigation. The investigation, which also involved the FBI, began with a tip from a company seeking to become one of Bata's suppliers.