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


August 25, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

TRASH BAG SUPPLIER CONVICTED FOR RIPPING OFF THE STATE

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the conviction and sentencing of David Lizmi, 65, of 100 Baltimore Avenue, Stevensville, for procurement fraud, in connection with a State contract for trash bag can liners.

On July 21 Lizmi was convicted by the Honorable Michael E. Loney, of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, of procurement fraud based on Lizmi's acknowledgment to the court that the State had sufficient evidence to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt - sometimes referred to as an "Alford" plea, after the Supreme Court case that held such pleas were the equivalent of a guilty plea.

In December 1996, Lizmi's Annapolis company, Bags R Us, was awarded a two-year million-dollar State contract to supply various State agencies with trash bags. Some of those agencies were the Division of Corrections, the State Highway Administration, the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the Maryland State Police.

However, the trash bags that Lizmi ultimately delivered to the State did not conform to the contract specifications as to dimension, gauge, and case weight. In instance after instance, the bags were thinner and/or fewer than Lizmi represented. Specifically, the State's investigation revealed that Lizmi shorted the State by approximately 46% 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 that the bags kept breaking, despite being labeled as 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, including discarded hypodermic syringes.

As more and more complaints were made about the bags, the State ultimately terminated Lizmi's contract in December 1997. Suspecting fraud, the State Department of General Services, which oversaw the contract, referred the matter to the Attorney General's Criminal Division. That office, together with the Maryland State Police, investigated the case and filed criminal charges.

In today’s sentencing, Lizmi was sentenced to: Ct. 1, Procurement Fraud- 5 years Division of Corrections with all but 60 days suspended to be served at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on the Work Release Program; upon his release he will be on 5 years probation with the Division of Parole and Probation with the first 2 years to be supervised; the maximum fine of $20,000 to be paid within 6 months; and 160 hours of community service. The penalty for procurement fraud, which is a felony, provides for a maximum of 5 years incarceration and a fine of up to $20,000.

"Mr. Lizmi was ripping off the taxpayers when he decided to short the State and over-bill for more than what he delivered," said Attorney General Curran. "This fleecing of the public will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

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