Bell Container Co. has been fined $100,000 for paying kickbacks on defense contracts to a former purchasing manager at Belcamp, Md.-based Bata Shoe Co.
Richard Brateman, Bell Container's vice president, accepted the fine on behalf of the Newark, N.J., box-maker at a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
Brateman, on authorization from Bell Container's board of directors, had pleaded guilty on behalf of the company in January to one count of violating the federal Anti-Kickback Act. The fine was recommended by the government in the company's plea bargain.
Prosecutors said Alvin Grieninger, the former Bata official, solicited kickbacks from Bell Container and at least seven other suppliers of goods for defense and commercial contracts between 1985 and 1989. He deposited the money into his own bank accounts and failed to declare the money on his income tax returns.
Grieninger and Kurt Faulhammer, owner of K&R Fabrics in Wilbraham, Mass., also pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges contained in a three-count criminal information document.
Those charges stemmed from kickbacks that Faulhammer and Bell Container paid to Grieninger in return for orders for fleece and boxes, respectively, that Bata used to make and ship military cold-weather boots.
Faulhammer was sentenced to 59 days on home detention, 24 hours in jail and a year's probation for paying $8,536 in kickbacks to Grieninger, who is awaiting sentencing May 2.
Another former Bata purchasing manager, Zdenek Formanek, who later worked for Bell Container as a salesman on the Bata account, was indicted on one kickback count.
That charge was dismissed after he died in February.