Former Walter Reed employee pleads guilty to accepting bribe

Germantown company gave him money, travel to get preferential contract, prosecution says

By Dan Schere

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A former employee of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting a bribe with a Germantown prosthetics supplier.

David Laufer, 63, of Pittsburgh, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Tuesday, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Laufer worked at Walter Reed from 2009 to 2019 as the chief of the Prosthetics and Orthotics Department, according to the press release.

According to the plea agreement, Laufer’s department used blanket purchase agreements to order and buy prosthetics and orthotics materials, which didn’t involve a credit card transaction or formal contract.

A Germantown company, referred to in the press release as “Company B,” bought prosthetics and orthotics materials from other companies before re-selling them to Walter Reed at a higher price.

Laufer said in the plea agreement that he prevented Walter Reed from doing business directly with the manufacturers and distributors that the Germantown company bought products from, and instead directed those companies to do business through Company B.

Walter Reed paid Company B more than $25 million between 2011 and 2019, according to the press release.

Laufer said in the plea agreement that in exchange for facilitating the transactions with the Germantown company, the company gave him money, travel and sports tickets.

From 2014 to 2019, he failed to document these benefits on financial disclosure forms, which are mandatory for gifts of more than $350 from one source, outside income of more than $200 and business dealings outside the federal government.

Laufer was interviewed by federal agents several times from 2017 to 2019 as part of a corruption investigation at Walter Reed, according to the press release. He lied to the agents by telling them he earned money from buying and selling bicycles and small collectibles at “swap meets,” earning money from a different company, and moonshine and liquor sales.

Laufer could spend up to two years in federal prison for accepting a bribe, according to the press release. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 2, 2021.

Dan Schere can be reached at [email protected]

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