GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — The owner and operator of Pinnacle Orthopedic Services, Inc. pleaded guilty to federal charges involving a public official on May 14.
Bruce Thomas, 53, of Germantown, pleaded guilty to paying gratuities to a public official in exchange for official acts.READ MORE: Maryland Students Suffer From Anxiety Following School Shooting In Texas
According to his plea agreement, from at least 2012 to 2019, Pinnacle provided prosthetics and orthotics materials to Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda. In return, the company would receive payments from the government.
From about 2011 to 2017, Thomas and Pinnacle received more than $20 million in payments from the Prosthetics and Orthotics Department at Walter Reed for materials.
David Laufer, Chief of the Prosthetics and Orthotics Department at Walter Reed, was the individual in contact with Thomas. From about 2009 until May of 2019, he would order and purchase materials from Thomas and Pinnacle.
Thomas admitted that from 2012 until 2017, he regularly gave Laufer money, plane tickets, meals, entertainment and other benefits, in exchange for official acts completed by Laufer. He performed official acts in connection with the gratuities including sending multiple purchase requests obligating at least $14.75 million to Pinnacle for prosthetics and orthotics materials.READ MORE: Fewer Blue Crabs In The Chesapeake Bay "Continue A Worrying Trend"
The plea agreement also stated that from 2010 until May 2019, the Walter Reed Prosthetics and Orthotics used Blanket Purchase Agreements to order and purchase the materials allowing for formal contracts to be disregarded.
Thomas regularly interacted with Laufer about Pinnacle’s business with Walter Reed, including the award of BPAs, future BPA funding, orders charged against the BPAs, and fulfillment of orders. Pinnacle was awarded multiple BPAs by Walter Reed.
Laufer also restricted the availability of BPAs to some of the manufacturers and distributors where Pinnacle purchased products, hindering those companies from doing business directly with Walter Reed. He encouraged and directed those companies to sell to Walter Reed through Pinnacle.
Thomas faces a maximum sentence of 2 years in federal prison. His sentencing is scheduled for September 9 at 9:30 a.m.
On October 20, 2020, David Laufer pleaded guilty to acceptance of gratuities by a public official, and faces a maximum of two years in federal prison. He is awaiting sentencing.MORE NEWS: ‘We Don’t Have To Accept This’ Calls For Action After Texas School Massacre As Shootings Rise In Baltimore, Nationwide