Crawford Pleads Guilty in Conflicts of Interest Case
Lester Crawford, who resigned as FDA commissioner in September 2005, on Tuesday pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to charges of false reporting and conflicts of interest related to ownership of stocks in companies that are regulated by the agency, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Bridges, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/17).
On Monday, the Department of Justice charged Crawford with the two misdemeanors, each of which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
Barbara Van Gelder, Crawford's attorney, said she expects him to be fined and placed on probation.
DOJ said Crawford and his wife owned stock in FDA-regulated companies -- including Wal-Mart; poultry biotechnology company Embrex; food and beverage maker PepsiCo; food distributor Sysco; and Kimberly-Clark, which makes some consumer health care products -- while he held senior positions at FDA but failed to disclose the holdings and made false statements about the couple's ownership of some of the stocks (California Healthline, 10/18).
Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson accepted Crawford's guilty plea and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Jan. 22, 2007 (Stout, New York Times, 10/18).