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Published: Friday, 7/17/2009

Perrysburg company files lawsuit, claims scam

BY GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Rexam Healthcare Packaging Inc. in suburban Perrysburg got a disturbing tip last August about its Mexico operations from an employee calling in on an anonymous hotline.

The firm's plant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, had essentially been hijacked by the factory's operations director, the tipster said.

And now the strange allegations are the subject of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

Rexam, which manufacturers pill bottles and other packaging for the health-care industry, has asked the court to find that Raul Garcia, Jr., of El Paso, violated U.S. racketeering and conspiracy laws and committed other offenses.

The complaint, which also names Mr. Garcia's wife, Gladys Acuna, and El Paso's Osiris Medical Inc., a company they allegedly operate, states that Rexam suffered more than $1 million in damages. The suit asks for triple damages, but does not say how much Rexam will seek.

Efforts to reach Mr. Garcia and Ms. Acuna were unsuccessful yesterday.

No one answered a telephone at a number listed on the Web site of Osiris Medical. The case has been assigned to Judge David Katz.

The complaint alleges that Mr. Garcia and Ms. Acuna secretly operated their company, which produced medical devices, from Rexam's plant in Cuidad Juarez.

It claims the couple conspired to use Mr. Garcia's position with Rexam to "manufacture, assemble, market, sell, and distribute certain medical equipment throughout the United States and elsewhere by embezzling Rexam monies, and using the manufacturing facilities, the proprietary information, the personnel, and other resources of Rexam."

After receiving the hot line tip, the firm hired private investigators to look into the allegations. When the accusations were allegedly confirmed, the company sent a team of executives to Mexico to take control of the plant and expand the investigation.

They discovered raw materials purchased for Osiris Medical and 20,000 medical needles and other devices awaiting shipment.

Computer hard drives contained 1,000 documents related to Osiris' safety needle products, including correspondence between Mr. Garcia and potential investors in his company.

The conspiracy went on from at least July, 2005, to November, 2008, the complaint states.

The defendants have 20 days from receipt of the complaint to respond.

Rexam PLC is a global packaging manufacturer based in London. It established the Perrysburg operation in 2007 following the acquisition of the healthcare packaging business of Owens-Illinois Inc., also of Perrysburg.

Contact Gary Pakulski at:

gpakulski@theblade.com

or 419-724-6082.



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