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May 03, 2007|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,Sun Reporter

Former state worker is accused of fraud A former state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene employee and her husband have been accused of bilking the state Kidney Disease Program out of more than $1.7 million over the past several years, according to court papers.

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler has filed suit against Donna M. Lam, a former Health Department employee, and her husband, Wilson A. Lam, of Dundalk in an alleged illegal billing scheme. In court papers, Gansler accuses the Lams of submitting fraudulent claims on behalf of fake service providers.

The civil suit that Gansler filed does not preclude criminal charges. Health Secretary John M. Colmers said in a statement that his department will "pursue with vigor all legal remedies available."

The Lams are accused of diverting money from a program that serves as a payer of last resort for people with severe kidney problems, including those receiving dialysis and suffering from end-stage renal disease, according to the suit. Colmers said the scheme did not affect the benefits that any of the 2,400 people in the program received. Several additional controls have been put in place to prevent a repeat of the scheme, Colmers said.

Donna Lam, who worked for the Health Department from 1980 until this year, admitted to the scheme but not its scope, according to the court papers. She declined comment last night.

Gansler's office accuses Lam of adding fictitious service providers to the state program's computer system and then creating false invoices for patient services supposedly provided by the companies she invented. As she generated the false claims, the court papers say, checks were issued to the shell companies and diverted to bank accounts she established under fictitious names.

Colmers said his agency began an internal investigation after being tipped off by banking officials.andy.green@baltsun.com

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