Columbia firm to pay $275,000 to settle civil case

April 05, 2001

A Columbia medical supply firm has agreed to pay the federal government $275,000 to settle charges that it violated an import ban under a 1993 contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Federal authorities said Sales and Marketing Services Inc. supplied surgical instruments to government customers from 1994 to 1996 that were manufactured in Pakistan, despite a prohibition in the VA contract. The company falsely represented that the supplies were made in Europe, authorities said.

Under the civil settlement announced yesterday, SMS and its president, W. Richard Smith, 65, of Grasonville, are permanently barred from government contract work. Vice President Laura Johnson, 41, and Operations Manager Gregory Johnson, 35, both of Columbia, are barred from seeking government contracts for three years, according to a Justice Department news release.

The three officers had earlier pleaded guilty to federal charges of smuggling and introducing misbranded instruments into interstate commerce. Smith was sentenced to 8 months in prison and fined $30,000. Laura Johnson was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine; Gregory Johnson was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and fined $5,000.

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