The Baltimore Sun

Psychiatric nurse gets three years for fraud

A Severna Park psychiatric nurse was sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release Thursday for billing for medical services she did not provide, according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office. Virginia Vought Acree, 49, a specialist in children's psychiatric nursing, must also pay $390,000 in restitution. Acree was accused of filing hundreds of fraudulent insurance claims from January 2003 to November 2007, receiving more than $400,000 from government and private health insurance programs. According to court documents, she billed for services that would not benefit her patients as well as for face-to-face psychotherapy services while she was on vacation or at a conference.

Liz F. Kay

Third man pleads guilty in mail, ID theft scheme

A third man pleaded guilty yesterday to mail fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft in a decades-long scheme used to cash more than $400,000 in stolen checks, according to the U.S. attorney's office for Maryland. Loquann Johnson, 53, of Baltimore and co-conspirators stole mail that contained identifying information on victims as well as checks and credit cards, federal prosecutors said. They produced fake IDs and wore disguises while cashing the checks, and also cut telephone lines at residences where they had stolen mail to prevent victims from reporting fraud, according to authorities. Johnson could face more than 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 16. Maurice Racks, 53, and Joseph Lawrence, 44, both of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty in the case and are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming months.

Laura Smitherman

Man charged in break-ins, thefts in Howard County

An Anne Arundel County man has been arrested on charges of breaking into several Howard County apartments and stealing valuables and large quantities of women's underwear, police said yesterday. Brian Eui Hong, 23, of Hanover was charged in connection with burglaries at nine homes in the Town & Country apartment complex in Ellicott City from September to mid-October, according to Howard County police. Hong has been charged with 27 counts of burglary, nine counts of property destruction, 12 counts of theft, three counts of attempted burglary and one count each of Peeping Tom and auto theft, among other charges, according to court records. Break-in victims reported that jewelry, credit cards, clothing, electronics and cash had been taken, police said. In each case, the residents also reported that a large amount of women's undergarments had been stolen. Hong was arrested Oct. 16 during a traffic stop. He was charged the next day in some of the break-ins and in other cases this week. He was being held on a $198,000 bond at the Howard County Detention Center, police said.

Bel Air, Abingdon arsons under investigation

The state fire marshal's office is investigating a series of apparently related arsons in the Bel Air and Abingdon areas, all of which happened in a one-hour period Thursday night, authorities said yesterday. Fire officials said they believe the same person or persons ignited the blazes. There were no injuries. "We think it is probably juveniles," said Joseph G. Zurolo Jr., a spokesman for the fire marshal's office. He said certain clues, which he declined to identify, linked the fires. Anyone with information on the fires should contact the Maryland arson hot line at 800-492-7529. Callers may remain anonymous.

David Kohn

Illegal Pakistani national pleads guilty to scheme

A Pakistani national illegally residing in New Jersey pleaded guilty yesterday to racketeering conspiracy as part of a bribery scheme to illegally obtain green cards and receive an abatement of Maryland taxes, according to the U.S. attorney's office for Maryland. Mohammad Akhtar, 52, has agreed to forfeit $278,600 and could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Laura Smitherman

Frederick sheriff's deputy fatally shoots man

FREDERICK : A Frederick County sheriff's deputy fatally shot a man who lunged at state troopers with a pair of scissors yesterday, the sheriff's office said. The names of the 40-year-old suspect and the 38-year-old deputy were being withheld until relatives were notified. Cpl. Jennifer Bailey said the deputy, a corporal and 12-year sheriff's office veteran, is on administrative leave with pay while authorities investigate the shooting. The shooting occurred about 11 a.m. just south of Francis Scott Key Mall, where the suspect is alleged to have stolen a necklace worth more than $500 from a jewelry store, police said.

Associated Press

Two linked to gang plead guilty to drug charges

Two members of the drug gang called Special, which sold heroin, cocaine and marijuana in Baltimore, pleaded guilty yesterday to drug dealing and using a firearm "in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime resulting in death," according to the Maryland U.S. attorney's office. Tamall Parker, 21, and Tracy Love, 23, both of Essex, face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison on the murder charge and a maximum of 40 years on the drug conspiracy charge. Their organization is accused of shooting a federal witness, John P. Dowery Jr. on Thanksgiving 2006 to keep him from cooperating with an investigation into the gang.

Tricia Bishop

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