Pinnacle Orthopaedic Services owner pleads guilty to bribery


Bruce Thomas, owner of Germantown, Md.-based Pinnacle Orthopedic Services, an orthotic and prosthetic reseller and service provider, pleaded guilty May 14 to bribery of a public official, CBS Baltimore reports.

From at least 2012 to 2019, Pinnacle provided products to Bethesda-based Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in exchange for government payments, according to the report.

The plea agreement said Mr. Thomas and Pinnacle received more than $20 million from Walter Reed's prosthetics and orthotics department from about 2011 to 2017.

Mr. Thomas admitted to regularly paying gratuities to David Laufer, chief of the prosthetics and orthotics department, in exchange for official acts, such as sending multiple purchase requests obligating at least $14.8 million to Pinnacle for products, according to the report.

The gratuities included money, plane tickets, meals and entertainment.

In addition, from 2010 to 2019, Walter Reed used blanket purchase agreements to buy Pinnacle products and bypass formal contracts. Mr. Laufer also restricted the availability of blanket purchase agreements to some manufacturers and distributors where Pinnacle bought products, and pushed them to sell to Walter Reed through Pinnacle, the report said.

Mr. Thomas faces up to two years in prison at his Sept. 9 sentencing.

Mr. Laufer pleaded guilty to acceptance of gratuities by a public official on Oct. 20. He is awaiting sentencing, and also faces up to two years in prison.

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