NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


September 15, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER BALTIMORE COUNTY MAN SENTENCED FOR THEFT AND INSURANCE FRAUD

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Timothy Andrew Scalla, Sr., formerly of 2116 Summit Avenue, Baltimore County, Maryland, has been sentenced for theft and insurance fraud for making a series of fraudulent insurance claims against his homeowners policies. Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Barbara Kerr Howe accepted the guilty plea and ordered a background investigation before imposing sentence. Today, she sentenced Scalla to five years incarceration, suspended all but 18 months, and ordered Scalla to pay $18,486 in restitution upon his release. The sentence follows Scalla’s guilty plea last May to charges that, over a two-year-period, he falsely claimed that he was the victim of three separate break-ins.

Scalla submitted phony documentation, bogus invoices and cancelled checks, in support of insurance claims for property allegedly stolen from him. Scalla admitted that he received $18,486.68 for the fraudulent claims.

Last May, in a statement of facts, the court learned that in June of 1994, after having his homeowners insurance cancelled due to an excessive claims history, Scalla applied for another policy with Allstate Insurance Company. To procure coverage, Scalla lied on his application by saying that he had not made an insurance claim during the past three years. A year later, Scalla made a claim with Allstate, seeking reimbursement for two sets of golf clubs that he said had just been stolen out of a car. When Allstate asked for documentation showing what he had paid for the equipment, Scalla submitted photocopies of the fronts and backs of three checks, each payable to local sporting goods stores. Relying on this information, Allstate paid $4,058.90 to Scalla for the clubs and accessories.

Upon investigation, it was learned that the photocopied checks submitted by Scalla were bogus–the fronts and backs of the checks did not match. The front of each check, which indicated the amount of the check and the payee, was fraudulent as no such check had ever been issued by Scalla or submitted to his bank for payment. The back of each check, which indicated that the check had been paid by Scalla’s bank, was actually the back of a completely different item. Judge Howe heard that Scalla pulled off similar scams twice in 1997 against the Travelers Insurance Company for over $13,000.

"Hopefully this sentence will serve as a warning to potential con artists thinking of committing insurance fraud," Attorney General Curran said. "You may win in the short run, but in the long run you will have to repay all stolen money and you may even go to jail."

Employees of the Insurance Administration, the Maryland State Police, and the Office of the Attorney General staff the Fraud Division. The criminal charges followed the state investigation.

###