Gambler who embezzled $3 million gets jail term


For nearly nine years, Roy H. Adler was obsessed with gambling -- and financed it with more than $3 million embezzled from clients of his employer.

Adler, 32, pleaded guilty yesterday to stealing about $3.2 million while employed at Willse & Associates, a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland that processes claims for large corporations financing their own health insurance plans.

Baltimore Circuit Judge David B. Mitchell accepted the guilty plea and sentenced Adler to 10 years in prison, with five years suspended. He will also have to repay at least $48,000 once he leaves prison.

Adler, an admitted compulsive gambler, had access to the bank accounts of such large employers as Maryland National Bank, St. Joseph Hospital, Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital and Kirk-Stieff Co. His job was to pay claims by doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers, according to documents presented by Assistant Attorney General Christopher J. Romano.

Beginning in December 1988, Adler began to write checks payable to fictitious companies he created and had the checks deposited into bank accounts he maintained. Between Dec. 1, 1988, and Dec. 31, 1990, Adler stole $4,421,901.42 from Willse's clients and deposited it in his accounts, according to court files.

With the money, he made more than 50 trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, gambling at a variety of casinos. He sometimes won big -- as much as $275,000 at the Sands in Atlantic City. But he ultimately lost all the money.

Adler also gambled in the stock market. He deposited $902,000 in an account with Fidelity Investments and purchased $7.2 million of options in Golden Nugget, a casino company. The market turned against him, and he ultimately lost $600,000 on that investment.

Aware that audits were being conducted of various accounts, Adler returned some of the embezzled money to cover his tracks. According to prosecutors, he returned a total of $1,184,153.65.

Adler has been cooperating with prosecutors and helping them to reconstruct records, according to his attorney, Harold I. Glaser.

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