To be sentenced to probation, court records say

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Former Triad Pharmacueticals co-owner Eric Haertle has pleaded guilty to selling contaminated alcohol wipes as part of a federal fraud case that effectively bankrupted the Hartland manufacturing facility.

According to a plea agreement, Haertle in 2010 sold hundreds of cases of supposedly sterile alcohol wipes to clients when he knew some samples from the lot had tested positive for the bacterium Bacillus cereus. He "made false representations" to the Federal Drug Administration about the safety of the wipes, which were ultimately voluntarily recalled, the agreement said.

He was convicted of one felony count of introduction of a misbranded drug into interstate commerce, and is scheduled to be sentenced June 15, court records show.

The crime carries a maximum three-year prison term, but federal prosecutors said in the agreement that they will agree to probation.

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Triad and its sister company, H&P Industries, were hit with a number of federal lawsuits in 2011 over the contaminated wipes. Two of the lawsuits involved deaths — one of a child in Texas and the other an Alabama woman. Other suits have been filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court by firms seeking reimbursement from Triad for unpaid bills.

U.S. marshals, acting on behalf of the FDA in 2011, seized about $6 million in products from the Hartland location, 700 W. North Shore Drive, and many products were also recalled that year.

The FDA later found that some alcohol wipes and swabs manufactured and sold by Triad were contaminated with Bacillus cereus.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found that the FDA knew about critical issues at the company for at least a decade but failed to take any enforcement action.

In 2014 Medical supplies maker Medline Industries Inc. spent about $8 million to renovate and equip the 277,000-square-foot former Triad facility.

Triad proposed a reorganization the previous year after seeking bankruptcy protection in August 2012 when the company effectively shuttered. But a committee representing Triad creditors proposed an alternative plan, with Triad's assets sold in a liquidation to Medline for $6 million.

Tyler Langan contributed to this report.

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