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Three to plead guilty in crooked Siemens deal

Friday, February 16, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

A week to the day after medical industry giant Siemens pleaded guilty in a crooked deal at John Stroger Hospital in 2000, the major individual players in the scam announced they too intend to plead guilty.
Prosecutors Barry Miller and Lisa Noller told U.S. District Judge John W. Darrah they don’t anticipate the need to go to trial against defendants Faust Villazan, Ellen Roth and Daniel Desmond. Darrah subsequently scheduled a change of plea date for all three.
Michael Monico, Roth’s attorney, confirmed his client intends to plead guilty. “We do,” said Monico.
Asked if the guilty pleas could lead to further indictments against county employees, at least one of whom was accused in an indictment of taking a $20,000 bribe in the deal, Monico said Roth’s not singing to the feds.
“At this point, it is not believed there will be an opportunity for cooperation,” Monico said.
Attorneys for Villazan and Desmond could not be reached for comment.
According to a civil lawsuit and criminal charges, Siemens entered a bid for a $49 million radiology contract at the then-new Stroger Hospital under the guise of having a 30 percent minority partner, Faustech of Elmhurst. That now-defunct company was owned by Villazan, of Western Springs.
In fact, Faustech was not a 30 percent partner, but simply accepted a flat fee of $500,000 to provide the minority front, Siemens admitted last week. Having a minority partner gave Siemens preference. The county hired Siemens even though GE had a lower bid.
Roth, Siemens’ attorney, is accused of being aware of the deception and lying to federal investigators about it. Desmond, of Arlington Heights, who worked for a Siemens subsidiary on the deal, is charged with wire fraud, mail fraud and perjury.
Faustech gave an unnamed county employee $20,000 to secure the contract, according to a federal indictment in the case, but it is not known if that employee will subsequently be indicted after the pleas.
Villazan, Roth and Desmond are scheduled to plead guilty Feb. 27.


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