Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Lester Crawford is expected to plead guilty today to two misdemeanour charges later today, alleging that he failed to disclose financial holdings in companies that were regulated by the agency during his time in office.
Crawford stands accused by the US Justice Department of filing false financial disclosure forms and conflict of interest. A plea agreement means that the most likely penalty for Crawford’s actions is a fine, although the two counts each carry a maximum penalty of one year in prison.
Crawford has been dogged by the investigation since the middle of last year, and handed in his resignation as FDA Commissioner in September 2005, just two months after being confirmed into the post by the US Senate.
The main points of contention in his tenure that have attracted the attention of the Justice Department include Crawford’s holding of stake in soft drinks company Pepsico and snack food giant Sysco whilst overseeing the FDA’s Obesity Working Group as well as undisclosed earnings from the sale of shares in agricultural biotechnology company Embrex.