Military dental equipment fraud 
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 Military dental equipment fraud

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 29, 2001; Page A21
AUSTIN, March 28 -- A federal property manager and several military
personnel have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Dallas in what
authorities allege was a scheme to steal and resell more than $7 million
worth of surplus government medical equipment.
In all, seven men, including two Army lieutenant colonels, were indicted
March 21, charged with conspiring to illegally divert the equipment into
private hands, said Candina Heath, the assistant U.S. attorney who is
handling the case. She said "quite a lot" of the equipment -- including
x-ray machines, dental chairs and intravenous stands -- have been recovered.
She said the defendants include Lt. Col. Robert C. Morris, 44, who is
stationed at Fort Benning, Ga.; Lt. Col. Walter E. Keasler Jr., 51, based at
the Hanby-Hayden Army Reserve Center in Mesquite, Tex.; Joseph G. Trujillo,
57, a senior property manager for the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services in Albuquerque; and Scott F. Perry, 42, who owns a Dallas medical
equipment business.
The four men and their three co-defendants could not be located for comment
Keasler and Perry, who pleaded not guilty, are free pending further legal
proceedings, Heath said. She said Trujillo and Morris are also free pending
initial court appearances. If convicted, each of the seven defendants could
be sentenced to five years in prison, Heath said.
The equipment originally had been installed in military aircraft that were
used as mobile hospitals, authorities said. After the planes stopped flying,
authorities said, the equipment was placed in storage to await reallocation.
Heath said Keasler allegedly requisitioned the equipment. Before it got to
Fort Benning, however, it was improperly diverted, ending up in government
storage facilities in Texas, including the Federal Supply Warehouse in Fort
Worth, over which Trujillo had authority, Heath said.
The other three charged are Timothy L. Bodle, 43, a civilian administrator
at the Hanby-Hayden reserve center; Army Staff Sgt. Ralph R. Odermatt, 47,
who is stationed at the reserve center; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenneth J.
Fama, 35, formerly assigned to the warehouse in Fort Worth. Bodle and
Odermatt have pleaded not guilty and are free pending legal proceedings.
Fama is free pending his initial court appearance

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