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December 04, 2006
Workers Face Charges in Referral Bonus Scheme

A federal grand jury has indicted three individuals on charges that they participated in a scheme to defraud the employee referral program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein announced.

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The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) had a program that gave bonuses to current employees for each new employee they recruited and referred. The referral bonuses were intended to reward existing employees who actually recruited new employees.

Prosecutors allege that beginning in January 2003, Paula Anderson, who worked in the UMMC human resources department as an administrative assistant, facilitated the payment of employee bonus referrals to work associates, including her mother Carlet Clemons and Michael Venable, who worked in the UMMC support operations department as dispatch coordinators, who were otherwise unqualified to receive such bonuses.

Clemons, Venable, and others would keep a portion of each referral bonus and give the rest to Paula Anderson, prosecutors allege. Of the $1.47 million in employee referral bonuses the hospital paid from 2003 to 2005, $317,811 was obtained fraudulently, prosecutors say.

Seven other individuals have pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme by claiming to have referred new employees in order to receive referral bonuses, when in fact they did not know the new employees, according to Rosenstein.

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