Bus Manufacturer Wins $3.1 Million In Civil Suit

March 31, 1991

LAGUSA Inc., a Belcamp bus manufacturer, was awarded $3.1 million inits Harford Circuit Court civil suit filed against a Florida businessman and his girlfriend.

LAGUSA won its suit against the couple, H. Keith Smith and Susan J. Grimm, in a March 13 order issued by Circuit Judge William O. Carr, court records show.

In its suit, LAGUSA claims that Smith and Grimm were behind a scheme to divert more than $2.7 million of the money's to a Florida trust account controlled by Smith.

Once the money was sent to the trust fund, LAGUSA claims, Smith channeled at least $1.9 million to a number of companies he controled.

Smith and Grimm used the rest of the money for a down payment on a home in West Palm Beach, Fla., and kickbacks to LAGUSA's former chief executive officer for his role in the scheme, the company claims.

The former executive, Richard H. Palmer of Fallston, has been sued by the company in a separate suit, still pending in circuit court.

LAGUSA representatives said the company spent more than $500,000 to unravel the fraud scheme developed by Smith, Grimm, Palmer and his wife, Cynthia.

The scheme was discovered in late 1987 when the bus manufacturer began having cash flow problems, company attorneys said.

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