For Immediate Release: August 4, 2011
Contact: Jason Surbey or Mike Trupo
Investigation leads to two arrests in alleged theft from
Hagerstown Hotel and Convention Center health benefit plan
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, in conjunction with the State’s Attorney Office for Washington County, Maryland, is seeking criminal convictions for Yasamane Rowhani and Hassan Mohammadi for allegedly stealing from the employee health benefit plan sponsored by the Hagerstown Hotel and Convention Center located in Hagerstown, Md.
Rowhani and Mohammadi, as managers of the hotel and convention center, were charged with overseeing and directing funds to the employee health benefit plan, including the payment of health insurance premiums. Between January and June 2009, Rowhani and Mohammadi allegedly failed to remit to the health plan nearly $18,000 in contributions made by approximately 19 workers. The contributions were made to pay health insurance premiums.
“Because the defendants in this case failed to forward employee contributions to the health plan, some workers were required to pay claims out of pocket after they sought medical care,” said Mabel Capolongo, regional director of the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration. “The department is committed to ensuring that any group of workers, no matter how small, is not victimized by those who would misappropriate their workers’ hard-earned money and violate their obligation to handle plan assets with the utmost of care.”
In June of this year, Rowhani and Mohammadi were separately indicted by a Maryland grand jury sitting in Washington County, Md. on charges of theft of $500 and upwards and conspiracy to commit theft of $500 and upwards.
On August 2, 2011, Yasamane Rowhani and Hassan Mohammadi (aka Hassan Mohammad) were arrested in Washington, D.C. They were arraigned on August 2, 2011, in the Circuit Court of Washington County. Bond for Ms. Rowhani was set at $10,000.00 and bond for Mr. Mohammadi was set at $20,000.00. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum period of incarceration of 15 years.
The Circuit Court of Washington County will hear trial in these matters on October 6, 2011. The defendants are presumed innocent of all charges.
The investigation leading to the indictments was conducted by the Washington District Office of the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the sheriff’s office of Washington County, Maryland.
The case is being prosecuted by the State’s Attorney office for Washington County, Maryland.
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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.