NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


July 21, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

CURRAN LEAVES CONVICTED TRASH BAG SUPPLIER "HOLDING THE BAG"

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the conviction of David Lizmi, 65, of 100 Baltimore Avenue, Stevensville, Maryland, for procurement fraud, in connection with a state contract for trash bag can liners. Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Michael E. Loney found Lizmi guilty based on his acknowledgment to the court that the state had sufficient evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt ("Alford" plea).

In December, 1996, Lizmiís Annapolis company Bags R Us, was awarded a two-year, one million dollar state contract to supply trash bags to the Division of Corrections, State Highway Administration, Motor Vehicle Administration, Maryland State Police and other state agencies.

However, the trash bags that Lizmi ultimately delivered to the state did not conform to the contract specifications, as the bags were thinner and/or fewer than Lizmi represented. An investigation revealed that Lizmi shorted the state by approximately 46 percent and falsely represented that the bags he delivered conformed to the contract specifications. The state, relying on his misrepresentations, paid him full price for the bags.

The State Highway Administration in Dayton was the first agency to report a problem with the bags. SHA employees responsible for emptying the trash cans at the Route 32 rest stop on I-95 began noticing weaknesses in the bags that were touted as being strong enough to handle such trash. The shoddy bags posed a serious health risk to the employees and travelers, as hazardous waste is routinely disposed of at these sites.

The state ultimately terminated Lizmiís contract in December of 1997. Suspecting fraud, the State Department of General Services referred the matter to the Attorney Generalís Criminal Division. That office, together with the Maryland State Police, investigated the case and filed criminal charges.

"Mr. Lizmi ripped off the taxpayers when he decided to short the state and over-bill for more than he delivered," said Attorney General Curran. "This kind of fleecing of hard-working Marylanders will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".

Lizmi will be sentenced on August 25, 2000. The penalty for procurement fraud, a felony, provides for a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

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