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U.S. POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE REPORTS HEALTH CARE FRAUD

 SEATTLE, March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Attorney Mike McKay and Postal Inspector In Charge Gerald A. Miera today announced the arrest of Callas Lynn Richardson, age 34, of Seattle, at Las Cruces, N.M., on federal mail fraud charges. Richardson was arrested yesterday by Postal Inspectors and U.S. Marshals on charges related to a scheme in which Richardson allegedly defrauded a health care insurer, the Principal Financial Group Co. (PFG), of over $213,000.
 Miera stated that a Criminal Complaint filed in U.S. District Court at Seattle on March 11, 1993, outlines a mail fraud scheme which operated from November 1987 to January 1993 at Seattle. According to the complaint, Richardson, while employed as a medical claims examiner at PFG's Seattle Regional Claims Center, established a fictitious company, the "Greenridge Co.," at a Seattle post office box address he controlled.
 The complaint states Richardson allegedly made computer terminal entries which caused 52 checks totaling $213,693 to be fraudulently issued and mailed from PFG's headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, to the Greenridge Co. at the Seattle post office box address. These checks were subsequently deposited to Richardson's bank account and the funds withdrawn. PFG officials could find no documentation to support any payments to Greenridge, and Richardson was terminated in January 1993.
 The complaint also relates how Richardson concealed details of a 1985 arrest by the Seattle Police Department for a similar scheme against his then-employer, Hartford Insurance Co. Richardson told PFG he had left Hartford due to some business problems brought about by a death in the family. In fact, Miera said, Richardson was fired by Hartford for employee misconduct and convicted of insurance fraud in King County Superior Court in July 1985 -- three months after he began his employment at PFG.
 Miera advised that PFG officials contacted the Postal Inspection Service in February 1993 and requested an investigation. Postal Inspectors traced Richardson to Las Cruces, where he was arrested without incident. Richardson appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Galvan today at Las Cruces. He was ordered held in custody pending an identification/removal hearing scheduled for March 18.
 The penalty upon conviction for each count of mail fraud is up to five years and/or a $250,000 fine. McKay cautioned that the charges contained in the federal complaint are accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury at trial.
 The Postal Inspection Service is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service, responsible for enforcing more than 105 federal statutes that relate to the U.S. Mail. Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcement agents. They have the power to make arrests and carry firearms. Postal Inspectors receive training similar to other law enforcement agents.
 -0- 3/17/93
 /CONTACT: James D. Bordenet, Postal Inspector, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Seattle Division, 206-442-6134/


CO: U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Principal Financial Group Co. ST: Washington IN: INS SU:

SW-LM -- SE012 -- 7202 03/17/93 17:37 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 17, 1993
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