Secretary charged with falsely billing Hopkins hospital

November 01, 1990|By M. Dion Thompson

An article in yesterday's editions of The Sun incorrectly identified a woman arrested in a false billing scheme as a former employee of John Hopkins Hospital. In fact, the woman was a former employee of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

* The Sun regrets the errors

A former employee at Johns Hopkins Hospital was arrested yesterday on charges of stealing more than $260,000 in an elaborate scheme that spanned nearly five years.

Valerie Aquilano, 41, was arrested early yesterday in her Hamden home. A Baltimore Circuit Court grand jury indicted her Friday on one count of theft over $300, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Ms. Aquilano will be arraigned in Circuit Court Nov. 29.


Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Ritter, who is prosecuting the case, said Ms. Aquilano's alleged scheme began July 29, 1985, and continued until Feb. 5.

Ms. Aquilano, who worked as a secretary in a radiobiology laboratory of the hospital's Oncology Department, is accused of setting up two dummy corporations, submitting invoices for work that was never done and pocketing $260,367.70 during that time.

The invoices submitted to the university were for graphics work, manuscripts and typing, she said.

Elaine Freeman, a Johns Hopkins Hospital spokeswoman, said the investigation into Ms. Aquilano's activities began in February, after hospital officials received information from an employee. The Internal Audit department then went through records and uncovered a theft, she said. Ms. Aquilano, who had worked at the hospital since October 1979, was fired on Feb. 20.

"She detected a way to do this and did it, and we certainly hope that we now have closed that route," Ms. Freeman said. "We do have controls in place to detect theft and embezzlement. As in any large organization, it is a very difficult job, but we try to be vigilant."

In February 1989, an assistant administrator of the radiology department pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $140,000 during a six-year period -- most of it by setting up a bank account under the name "Johns Hopkins University Radiology Alumni Association" and transferring money from other accounts.

Ms. Ritter said that no one else is being investigated in connection with the more recent accusations.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.