Charges in most cases of ambulance cost fraud withdrawn
Most of the dozen people accused of not paying for ambulance services with earmarked funds from insurance companies no longer face the charge of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received.
Eight cases were withdrawn by the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office, three preliminary hearings were continued until Oct. 12 and one case was referred to the Somerset County Court of Common Pleas for a bench warrant, according to court records.
The probable-cause affidavits note that Highmark insurance sent each defendant a check to be paid to Somerset Area Ambulance Association for services rendered. The money was never given to the association when the charges were filed by Somerset County detectives.
Prior to the filing of the charges, the association made several attempts to solve the problem and County Chief Detective Jason Hunter sent a letter to the accused people with no response, police said.
By this week at the times reserved for preliminary hearings in the cases, eight had paid the money owed the ambulance service. On Friday, Assistant District Attorney Hannah Myers said why the charges in those eight cases were withdrawn.
The charges were withdrawn against the following people: David Delancey, 64, Friedens; Heather Marie Crowe, 39, Stoystown; Jared Mock, 39, Salix; Teloa Lawrence, 51, Boswell; Melissa Sue Klejka, 37, Somerset; Shannon Eugene Charlton, 48, Friedens; Thomas Close, 48, Confluence; and Eric Lloyd Darr, 48, Johnstown.
The defendants who had their preliminaries before District Judge Ken Johnson of Somerset rescheduled for Oct. 12 were Amy Jo Lishia, 34, Rockwood; Elizabeth Larue Compton, 22, Confluence; and Lesily Eileen Wooster, 19, Confluence.
A bench warrant for not showing up for the designated preliminary hearing date was issued against Samuel Joseph Hoffman, 19, Berlin, for ambulance service on Oct. 3. The insurance check was for $1,275.50.