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Picker buyer guilty of kickbacks

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Sentencing is pending for a former Picker International employeewho pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in December.The case involves kickbacks tied to a contract between Pickerand the Department of Defense for portable x-ray units. Richard G.

Sentencing is pending for a former Picker International employeewho pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in December.The case involves kickbacks tied to a contract between Pickerand the Department of Defense for portable x-ray units.

Richard G. Wohlgemuth, formerly a senior buyer for Picker,was charged in December with disguising kickback checks as paymentsfor accounting services that were never performed. The paymentswere made by Se Keun Oh, president of Euclid Machine of Cleveland,in exchange for a subcontract to produce x-ray components. Thecase was heard in U.S. District Court in Cleveland in December,where both parties pleaded guilty.

Each party faces a penalty of five years in prison and a fineof $250,000. A presentence investigation is ongoing, accordingto Christian Stickhan, U.S. district attorney.

"It will be at least another month before sentencing,"he said. "Preparation of the presentence report usually takessix to eight weeks, and often longer."

Although the case involves Picker x-ray units, the qualityof the equipment was not at issue. "It's a straight-up kickbackcase," Stickhan said.

Wohlgemuth was dismissed with cause from Picker in December,according to Mike Peterson, head of corporate communications forthe company.

"We were made aware of the Justice Department's investigationin mid-December and cooperated fully," he said.

Picker had a contract with the Defense Department between 1987and 1989 to produce portable x-ray units for use in the field.Oh paid Wohlgemuth about $6300 in exchange for the subcontract,Stickhan said.

The case has not affected Picker's ability to garner othergovernment contracts, Peterson said.

"Our business relationship with the government has notbeen affected," he said. "This was a case of an individualacting on his own, with another individual from another company.Both were caught and await sentencing."

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