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CHARGES FILED AGAINST FORMER LABORATORY VICE PRESIDENT FOR WITHHOLDING INFORMATION FROM GSA

 CHARGES FILED AGAINST FORMER LABORATORY VICE PRESIDENT FOR
 WITHHOLDING INFORMATION FROM GSA
 BOSTON, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Criminal charges were filed today against a former vice president and managing director of a Cambridge distributor of laboratory equipment for withholding information from the General Services Administration during the negotiation and performance of a $2 million government contract.
 Acting U.S. Attorney A. John Pappalardo announced today the filing of a one count information charging Warren Howell with mail fraud concerning the negotiation and performance of a procurement contract with the General Services Administration (GSA), in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1341. Howell is the former vice president of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (Bio-Rad), and the managing director of Bio-Rad's Digilab Division. Bio-Rad is a publicly held corporation with its headquarters located in Hercules, Calif., and trades on the American Stock Exchange. Its Digilab Division (Digilab) maintains offices at 237 Putnam St., Cambridge. Digilab is principally engaged in the manufacture and sale of laboratory equipment, including the sale of such equipment to various agencies of the United States under contracts and prices negotiated by the GSA.
 From June 1978 through December 1991, Howell served as the vice president of Bio-Rad, and from 1982 until December 1991, he also served as the managing director of Digilab. He is 56 years of age and resides at 49 Great Neck Rd., Sherborn.
 The information charges that, during the period from October 1986 to April 1990, Howell and Bio-Rad intentionally failed to disclose to the GSA information about discounts that Digilab was then giving to its commercial customers. More specifically, the information charges that, during the negotiation and administration of a procurement contract, Howell and Bio-Rad withheld information from the GSA concerni ng the fact that the prices for laboratory equipment, which Digilab was then offering to the GSA, were not Digilab's best prices for such equipment, and that Digilab was then offering significantly better prices to commercial customers. The maximum penalties for the offense charged in the information are five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
 Howell is the second Bio-Rad officer charged with having defrauded the GSA in the negotiation and performance of this procurement contract. On March 5, 1992, Allan Fuller, the former North American sales manager of Digilab, entered a plea of guilty in federal court to a one count information charging him with making a false statement to GSA during the negotiation of the contract. Fuller is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Keeton on May 6, 1992, at 3:30 p.m.
 This information is the result of an investigation conducted by the Office of the Inspector General of the General Services Administration. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Grosso of Budd's Economic Crimes Division.
 -0- 3/12/92
 /CONTACT: Press Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, 617-223-9445/ CO: ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:


EG -- NE007 -- 7501 03/12/92 15:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 12, 1992
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