Woman faces trial charged with theft from county Fraudulent checks issued for workers' compensation

July 16, 1998|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF Sun reporter Joan Jacobson contributed to this article.

A 43-year-old Owings Mills woman faces trial next week on charges of stealing $103,921 from Baltimore County government in fraudulent workers' compensation checks.

Sandra Ann Callis, a temporary employee who worked for a year for a Pennsylvania company contracted to handle the county's workers' compensation cases, could get up to 15 years in prison if convicted on two felony theft counts covering a period between July 1997 and December 1997.

According to a police report, an employee at PMA Management Corp. in Hunt Valley found a patient file in a co-worker's mailbox on Jan. 6 with an award from the Maryland Workers' Compensation Commission. The award authorized payment for physical therapy for an ankle injury, although the patient had been treated for a heart ailment. Callis handled the alleged ankle injury.

The company then found the claim had been paid with a check issued from the Hunt Valley office, although checks normally are issued by the main office in Blue Bell, Pa. The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation could find no record of a licensed physical therapist named A. M. Goodson, to whom the check was issued.

Further review found numerous other checks issued locally, and established that checks had been paid to various people "not recognized as providers or claimants," according to the report by Detective Katherine Long.

Frank Meyer, chief of the investigations division of the Baltimore County State's Attorney's office, said Callis was indicted March 16, arrested March 20, and released on her own recognizance pending trial, which is scheduled for Wednesday.

A tearful Callis said yesterday that she is innocent of any wrongdoing, although she acknowledged that she issued the checks. "I put those checks out on orders," she said. "I know who did it."

She said she can't afford a lawyer. "I've lost just about everything," she said, adding that she hadn't yet told her family about the charges or the pending trial.

Jack Bishop, manager of fraud control for PMA, said Callis worked for a Washington temporary employment agency. "We sent her back to her parent firm," he said.

Fred Homan, county budget director, said PMA repaid the county for the loss. Since July 1, workers' compensation claims have been handled internally by the county.

Pub Date: 7/16/98

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