One of two former Howard County General Hospital employees accused of punching each other's timecards for overtime shifts they never worked was sentenced to probation yesterday for a scheme that prosecutors said bilked the hospital out of thousands of dollars.
Glenn S. Hoover, 37, of the 100 block of N. Meadow Drive in Glen Burnie was also ordered to pay $5,786.80 in restitution to the hospital.
Hoover had agreed to testify against his co-defendant, Timothy Sank, who apparently initiated the scheme, attorneys said. Sank pleaded guilty to a theft charge Wednesday. Both men worked in patient care at the hospital. Hoover, a phlebotomist, was responsible for drawing patients' blood.
Hoover joined Sank out of "stupidity" and because of financial issues, and he "had difficulty finding his way out," his attorney, Daryl D. Jones, told Howard Circuit Judge Dennis M. Sweeney before sentencing.
"I would just like to tell everyone the remorse I have," Hoover said.
Sweeney sentenced Hoover to two years in prison but suspended the sentence in favor of three years' probation and the fine.
Sank, 35, of the first block of Melville Road in Pasadena, is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 14.
The men's actions were discovered in February last year after a nurse manager at the hospital noticed that Hoover had punched in for an evening shift that he never worked, according to a statement of facts in the case.
She began reviewing records and saw that Sank had punched in for a double shift a few days earlier - even though there was no record of him working the second shift, according to the statement.
An audit of payroll sheets from January 2001 to February last year turned up 74 shifts for which Sank had punched in but not worked, and 38 for Hoover, prosecutor Lynn Marshall said. Auditors also discovered that one of the two men was working each time the other was falsely punched in - suggesting a "buddy punching" system, she said.
Sank's first fake overtime shifts were recorded in March 2001, and Hoover's started two months later, according to the statement.
Hoover told authorities that Sank started the scheme by asking Hoover to punch him in, the prosecutor said. Sank later showed Hoover how much extra pay he was getting and suggested that Hoover do the same, Marshall said.
The two men, who have been fired, took home nearly $18,000 in pay and benefits through the fake shifts, Marshall said.
"Mr. Hoover was a valued employee at the hospital," Marshall told Sweeney. "It's quite a loss to the hospital to have to terminate him. Unfortunately, he did commit this crime."
In a victim impact statement, the nurse who noticed the discrepancies said the fact that the money was taken meant that the unit could not buy some of the supplies and equipment in its budget.
Marshall also told Sweeney that because of Hoover's cooperation and because he took "full responsibility" for his actions, prosecutors would not oppose a sentence change to probation before judgment - as long as Hoover does well on probation and pays his restitution. Probation before judgment would allow Hoover to keep the conviction off his record.