A federal grand jury in Macon alleges that a pest control company illegally sprayed the wrong pesticides inside two dozen Middle Georgia nursing homes.
Steven A. Murray, of Alabama, and his company, Bio-Tech Management Inc., wrongly used a pesticide called Termidor SC inside nursing homes starting in 2005, the grand jury said. That spraying continued through 2009, while the company falsified reports to say it had used a different pesticide that doesnt even exist, according to an indictment.
Murray and the company were charged with conspiracy, 10 counts of making false statements, 20 counts of falsifying records, 10 counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of unlawful use of a pesticide.
The mail fraud, falsifying records and false statement charges alone carry potential penalties of up to 650 years in prison and $10 million in fines.
Murray is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Macon on Sept. 24.
The federal charges come after the Georgia Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began investigating. The charges involve primarily private nursing homes, but they also include the Georgia Veterans Home in Milledgeville. The indictment alleges that the spraying happened across the state, from Fort Oglethorpe near Chattanooga to Quitman and Valdosta near the Florida border.
The indictment does not allege that residents or employees were hurt.
According to the indictment, Termidor SC is not allowed to be used inside buildings except inside walls. Co-conspirators allegedly falsified service reports to say that theyd instead been using a pesticide called CyKick T, which doesnt exist.
The indictment says Murray told co-conspirators to falsify the service reports after he was told the Georgia Department of Agriculture was investigating the company for illegal use of pesticides.
The indictment says Bio-Tech had contracts with a number of nursing homes and chains of nursing homes, including contracts through an operations office in Gray with Ethica Health and Retirement Communities, which had more than 50 nursing homes in Georgia. Ethica required all treatments to follow regulations.
Nursing homes named in the indictment include: from Cochran, Bryant Health and Rehab; from Eatonton, Eatonton Health and Rehab; from Forsyth, Heritage Healthcare Forsyth and Hilltop Nursing Home; from Gray, Gray Nursing Home, Lynn Haven Nursing Home and Stone Brook Suites; from Macon, Bel Arbor Nursing Home, Cherry Blossom Healthcare, Eastview Nursing Home, Elberta Health Care, North Macon Healthcare, Peake Healthcare, The Oaks at Peake-ALC and The Villas at College Hill; from Milledgeville, Chaplinwood Health and Rehab, and Georgia Veterans Home; from Monroe County, Bolingreen Nursing Home; from Montezuma, Montezuma Health Care and Oconee Healthcare; from Roberta, Roberta Health Care; from Sparta, Sparta Health & Rehab; from Thomaston, Providence Healthcare; and from Warner Robins, Elberta Health Care.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.