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


July 30, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

BALTIMORE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO INSURANCE FRAUD

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that Lawrence S. Ross, 52, of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to one count of Felony Insurance Fraud in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County. Ross had been charged with making false and fraudulent statements and representations to the United States Surety Company in reference to an application for insurance in December 1997. At the time, Ross was President of Commercial Mechanical, Inc. The Honorable James T. Smith, Jr. placed Mr. Ross on two years probation and ordered him to perform 192 hours of community service.

In a statement of facts presented by the prosecutor, the court learned that as part of his application for bonding on a construction project on which he was to perform certain mechanical work, Mr. Ross had submitted a personal financial statement to U.S. Surety wherein he listed over $480,000 in assets. An investigation revealed, however, that the real estate listed on the statement did not actually belong to him and that the securities listed were custodial accounts over which he had no control.

The U.S. Surety Company approved these bonds relying on Mr. Ross' financial statement. When his company encountered cash flow problems and was unable to continue performance on the bonded project, the surety company became responsible for completion of the job.

The case was investigated by the Insurance Fraud Division of the Maryland Insurance Administration. The Insurance Fraud Division is staffed by employees of the Insurance Administration, the Maryland State Police, and the Office of the Attorney General.

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