Impostor at Crownsville faces $73,481 state suit

October 18, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

The Maryland attorney general filed suit yesterday seeking $73,481 from the former director of the Crownsville Hospital Center, who quit in August after state officials found that he faked his resume.

The suit was filed in Baltimore County Circuit Court against Haroon R. Ansari, 33, whose last known address was the first block of Heatherton Court, Woodlawn. It accused him of breach of contract and misrepresentation for lying to state officials when he applied to be director of the Crownsville Hospital Center in 1992.

Mr. Ansari, who held the job for a year, left the hospital Aug. 15, returned at 7:30 p.m. that day to turn in his pager, keys and state car and hasn't been seen since. His resignation was effective Aug. 29.

He claimed to have a doctorate in educational psychology from Michigan State University and master's degrees from Michigan State and Western Michigan University when he applied for the job Dec. 17, 1992, according to the suit.

He also claimed to have served as a deputy director of the Illinois Mental Health Administration for 3 1/2 years. None of that was true, state officials said.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said he sued to show the public that deception from anyone seeking a state job will not be tolerated.

"The important thing is that there was a deception here, and you had a number of people who had the education and had the credentials and they lost out because of this charade. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to the state of Maryland," Mr. Curran said. He said Mr. Ansari also could face criminal charges of using fraudulent credentials to secure state employment, a misdemeanor that carries a fine of $3,000 and three months in jail. But he said his office is more likely to concentrate on the civil suit.

Mr. Ansari's lawyer, William H. Murphy Jr., failed to return calls.

Mr. Ansari held the $62,000-a-year post as head of the 253-bed hospital. He was employed for six months before his actions raised suspicions. State administrators grew suspicious when Mr. Ansari decided to launch three or four statewide programs before any detailed plans about them were developed, said Dr. Stuart B. Silver, director of the state Mental Hygiene Administration. When they checked out his background and confronted him about his resume, he agreed to resign.

In the suit, Mr. Curran alleges that Mr. Ansari's claims breached the agreement he made when he was hired and cheated the state out of an administrator who met state qualifications for the job.

Included in the suit is a request for a motion for summary judgment, which means Mr. Curran will ask a judge in a pretrial hearing to rule in his favor by arguing that there is no need for a lengthy trial in the case.

Tori Leonard, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said that the department has not hired a replacement at Crownsville and that rules for background checks on job applicants have been tightened.

She said that applicants for jobs within the department are subject to more extensive criminal background checks and that search committees must verify the credentials of an applicant for any administrative post.

In Mr. Ansari's case, committee members assumed that state personnel official would check backgrounds, state officials said. Apparently, no one did, Robert W. Eastridge, deputy secretary of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, conceded in August.

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