Steven A. Murray, 54, of Pelham, Ala., and his company, Bio-Tech Management Inc., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Macon, Ga., to charges of conspiracy, unlawful use of pesticides, false statements and mail fraud in connection with the misapplication of pesticides in Georgia nursing homes, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Robert G. Dreher of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore for the Middle District of Georgia.
According to the plea agreement, from October 2005 to June 2009, Murray and Bio-Tech provided monthly pest control services to nursing homes in Georgia by spraying pesticides in and around their clients’ facilities. Bio-Tech employees routinely applied the pesticide Termidor indoors, contrary to the manufacturer’s label instructions. After the Georgia Department of Agriculture made inquiries regarding Bio-Tech’s misuse of Termidor and other pesticides, Murray directed several of his Bio-Tech employees to alter company service reports with the intent to obstruct an investigation.
“These defendants misapplied potentially harmful pesticides around senior citizens and conspired to obstruct an investigation by state and federal law enforcement,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Dreher. “It is essential that companies and individuals who handle pesticides do so lawfully and honestly, and those that fail to do so will be held accountable under the law.”
“When our loved ones make the transition to a nursing home, the last thing any of us wants to worry about is whether our parents or grandparents are being subjected to improperly applied chemicals,” said U.S. Attorney Moore. “When Mr. Murray and his company used this pesticide like they did, they created a potentially harmful situation for the residents and another reason to worry for the residents’ families.”
“The defendants took advantage of some of our most vulnerable citizens by deliberately applying pesticides contrary to federal law in nursing homes around the state of Georgia,” said Maureen O'Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA's Criminal Enforcement Program in Georgia. “What is even more shameful is they then took steps to conceal it. This plea agreement shows that we will not tolerate individuals or companies who put profit over protection.”