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Former FDA chief put on probation, fined for dealing in stock of regulated companies

[JURIST] US District Court for the District of Columbia Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson [official profile] Tuesday sentenced former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website] commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford [official profile; JURIST news archive] to three years supervised probation and imposed about $90,000 in fines. Crawford had pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to misdemeanor charges [criminal information] of conflict of interest and false writing [US Code text] in October 2006. The sentence handed down by Robinson is harsher than the deal reached by Crawford's lawyer and representatives from the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia [official website] in which Crawford was to receive probation and a fine of $50,000. Robinson decided to delay Crawford's sentencing [JURIST report] in January because the two sides had not explained to the court why they did not follow federal sentencing guidelines in agreeing upon a punishment. While acknowledging that the fine exceeds the parties' agreement, Robinson noted that both crimes carry a combined maximum penalty of 2 years in prison and a $200,000 fine, making her fine well below the statutory maximum.

The charges against Crawford stemmed from a grand jury investigation [JURIST report] begun after the New York Times reported [text] in October 2005 that Crawford and/or his wife had failed to disclose their ownership and sale of stock in FDA-regulated companies, such as Embrex, Sysco, Teleflex and PepsiCo [corporate websites]. Crawford resigned [JURIST report] after serving only two months as FDA commissioner in September 2005. AP has more.

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