Ex-president indicted on charges of theft from Timonium company

April 14, 1994|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore County police obtained a grand jury indictment this week against the former president of a Timonium computer ribbon company for allegedly stealing $222,000 from the company he once ran.

The criminal charges were brought against Philip E. Berringer, former president of National Computer Ribbons Corp.

Bill and Joann Hardy, who won control of the company after suing their former boss for wrongful discharge and defamation -- and winning a $3 million jury verdict -- said they were happy police finally had obtained the charges.

The Hardys questioned why it took so long.

"The information that they used [to indict Mr. Berringer] we had in November of 1991," Mr. Hardy said.

Police arrested Mr. Berringer, 49, of the 10700 block of Anglo Hill Road in Cockeysville on March 23 on District Court charging documents. He was charged with one count of felony theft and one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary.

The grand jury indicted him on the same charges Monday, and the indictment was released Tuesday. If convicted of all charges, Mr. Berringer could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined $1,000.

Mr. Berringer, who is free on $50,000 bail, could not be reached for comment.

In November 1991, when the Hardys both worked for NCRC, they thought they had discovered evidence that their boss was stealing money from the company, they said. The evidence consisted of invoices for work that the couple suspected never was done and canceled company checks used to pay those invoices, according to the Hardys.

According to the Hardys, a company called E & L Enterprises, which had the same Florida address as Mr. Berringer's parents, Eleanor and Leo Berringer, billed National Computer Ribbons for the work.

Also indicted Monday was Maria Pauline Staab, 47, the company's former corporate secretary and bookkeeper. She is charged with fraudulent misappropriation by fiduciary. As of last night, she had not been arrested.

The Hardys, who won their $3 million suit against Mr. Berringer and National Computer Ribbons last May, took over the company in June.

The District Court charging documents said police examined the invoices for E & L Enterprises and 93 canceled company checks that paid the invoices. The invoices were for putting ribbon cartridges together, but the Hardys say the work never was done -- or at least not $222,000 worth.

In the documents, Detective Sandra Mapstone of the county computer crime unit said Mr. Berringer had deposited the checks into his personal bank account in Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Co.

"Philip Berringer endorsed 91 of 93 checks paid to E & L Enterprises," the detective wrote.

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