Capital Gazette wins special Pulitzer Prize citation for coverage of newsroom shooting that killed five

Pharmacist admits defrauding MedicaidThe owner of the...


Pharmacist admits defrauding Medicaid

The owner of the Towson Pharmacy pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding the Medicaid program and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland, the state attorney general's office said yesterday.

Pharmacist Gerald Freedenberg, 52, pleaded guilty to felony Medicaid fraud and theft charges for submitting false billings to Maryland's Medical Assistance Program and the private insurer.

He admitted overbilling Medicaid $6,662 in connection with 71 phony prescriptions and submitting $22,500 in false prescription billings to Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Under terms of a plea agreement, Baltimore Circuit Judge David Mitchell gave Freedenberg a one-year suspended sentence and fined him $10,000. Judge Mitchell also ordered Freedenberg to make trebled restitution of $19,986 to the Medicaid program and to Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Assistant Attorney General Carolyn McElroy said that Freedenberg, of Caveswood Lane in Owings Mills, pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud in 1982 and was sentenced to probation. After he successfully served his probation, his criminal record was expunged but the prior record was reopened in connection with the recent case.

Judge agrees to move trial in slaying case


A Harford County Circuit Court judge has agreed to a change of venue for the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting two sisters during a Havre de Grace store robbery in October.

Circuit Judge William O. Carr agreed to move the trial during a hearing yesterday, but it was not decided where the trial would be held.

Attorneys for the man, Kenneth R. Brodt, had argued in a motiofiled in Harford Circuit Court that their client could not get a fair and impartial trial in the county.

Mr. Brodt, 19, of the 2800 block of Henley Drive, Creswell iaccused of killing Bessie Urban Mitchell, 73, and Emily Urban Hamby, 75, during a midday robbery of the sporting goods store they operated, the Sportman's Center.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Mr. Brodt. He has been indicted on two counts of first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, theft and two weapons charges in the Oct. 18 slayings.

Emissions studied in Mchenry tunnel


A study of car and truck emissions in the Fort McHenry Tunnel is expected to help determine whether motor vehicles are putting more smog into the air than previously assumed, researchers say.

For the past two weeks, scientists have been measuring the amount of carbon monoxide and other materials inside the tunnel and, in some cases, identifying the pollutants coming from the tailpipes of individual cars and trucks using remote sensors linked to a video camera.

On-site work was completed Saturday. Officials say the 1.7-mile tunnel was an ideal testing area since the four tubes are unaffected by out side weather conditions and heavy trucks are segregated from other vehicles.

The $1.1 million study is being funded jointly by the federal government and private industry. Researchers are expected to announce preliminary results in six months.

Former bank official admits embezzlement


A former bank executive pleaded guilty yesterday to a one-count bank embezzlement criminal information in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Alfred L. Weide, 45, former director of human resources at Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Sept. 18 by Judge Marvin J. Garbis.

Weide admitted to using his position to hire two consultant firms to conduct searches for new bank employees and executives. One of the firms was partly owned by his wife, Susan, who used pTC an alias, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale P. Kelberman. The other firm kicked back some of the consultant fees to him. As part of a plea agreement, the government refrained from bringing charges against Mrs. Weide.

Aberdeen cab driver died of strangulation


An Aberdeen cab driver who was found dead in the trunk of a taxi pulled from a Harford County quarry died of strangulation, the state medical examiner said yesterday.

The body of Elvert Jones, 41, was found late Friday after his Victory Cab Co. cab was pulled from 55 feet of water at a slate quarry near Whiteford. He had been missing since June 22.

Three Aberdeen men have been charged with first-degree murder in the case, police said.

They are: Stanley Joseph Baczeski, 29, and brothers Clifton Paul Brinegar, 19, and Billy Joe Brinegar, 22. They were captured Saturday after a manhunt in woods near Aberdeen, the Harford County sheriff's office said.

Police said they do not see a connection between the case and other crimes against area cabbies.

Pilot recycling project due in White Marsh


Beginning July 13, about 1,000 homes in White Marsh will begin a pilot recycling program in which one of the two weekly trash pickup days will be used for collecting recyclables.

Mondays will be recycling days for mixed paper, plastic, glass, tin containers and aluminum cans; regular trash collections will occur Thursdays. Mixed paper will be collected every Monday, and mixed containers will be collected every other Monday. Blue recycling bags are available at area supermarkets.

For the record

The body of James D. Layte, 45, of Essex was recovered yesterday near Hart Miller Island in Baltimore County, the appartent victim of an accidental drowning, police said. He was last seen Friday on a boat in the area.

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