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Fugitive State Games official returned to Md. by deputies


John M. Staubitz Jr., the former state health official convicted of skimming thousands of dollars in the State Games scandal and who was on the lam for nearly a month before his arrest last week in Las Vegas, said last night that he had fled to avoid sentencing because he was "confused" and "scared."

"It was a foolhardy thing to do," Staubitz said as Baltimore sheriff's deputies escorted him through Baltimore-Washington International Airport. "I guess I was just confused and a little scared. I've never been through this before."

He was taken to a waiting Dodge sedan for the drive back to the Central District police station in Baltimore. He was wearing a polo shirt, shorts and deck shoes.

Detective Sgt. George Cunningham of the Sheriff's Department said the former deputy health secretary will be taken Monday to the Baltimore City Detention Center, where he will be held without bail while awaiting a new sentencing date.

Sergeant Cunningham, one of two deputies who flew to Las Vegas on Thursday to take custody of Staubitz, said the flight back to Baltimore was uneventful.

"He was pretty decent about everything. We had no problem with him," the sergeant said.

Staubitz, 44, said he had intended to fly back to Baltimore and turn himself in, but was interrupted by the deputies.

He waived extradition during a hearing Wednesday in Nevada District Court. He had fled Maryland on July 26, the day before he was to be sentenced in Baltimore Circuit Court for conspiracy to commit misconduct in office. Authorities followed a trail of receipts and airline and hotel reservations, all in Staubitz's name, to arrest him Aug. 21 after he answered a knock on the door of his Las Vegas hotel room.

"I wasn't trying to be a world-class fugitive," Staubitz said, adding he went to to Las Vegas because "it just seemed like the place to go. I know people there."

Asked whether he expected to be sentenced to prison, Staubitz replied, "I have no idea."

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