Ex-Berchtold sales rep charged with embezzling from U.S. government

jmcdermott@postandcourier.com

A federal grand jury has charged a former sales representative for a Charleston-area medical business with theft of government property.

Michael Ward, a Texas resident who worked for Berchtold Corp. until last year, embezzled unspecified property valued in excess of $1,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense, according to an indictment filed in U,S, District Court in Charleston.

Also, prosecutors said Ward created false documents on two occasions in October 2010.

In the first instance, he fabricated an invoice stating that Berchtold had sold surgical equipment to Kaiser Hospital Asset Management at inflated prices, according to the indictment.

In the other case, he falsely certified in a written price quote that the rates he was offering were the lowest available for favored customers when he knew they were “far in excess of the best pricing that Berchtold ... was required to provide the United States Government for such goods.”

The prosecution is seeking an order requiring Ward to pay money or forfeit assets equal to the value of the embezzled property. It also is seeking any assets he obtained using proceeds from the alleged embezzlement.

An arraignment hearing is scheduled for April 23 in Charleston.

In a false claims lawsuit he filed against Berchtold last year, Ward said he lives in San Antonio. He fired by the company in March 2012, according to court document.

German-owned Berchtold is makes surgical lighting, operating room tables and other medical products. Its North America headquarters are in Hanahan.








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