June 17, 2010
LIMA — Crystal Balo won’t have to go to prison. The former Allen County employee will have to do some time behind bars, however, for keeping her ex-husband on her health insurance policy following their divorce.
A judge last month found Balo, 31, guilty of one count of grand theft by deception, a fourth-degree felony. On Wednesday, Judge Richard Warren sentenced her to 45 days in jail with work release privileges and three years on probation. Warren also ordered Balo to pay $2,974 in restitution.
“This is not your typical theft case,” Assistant Prosecutor Tony Miller said. “This case really is an example of a cold, calculating, manipulative theft that occurred over some five years or so. In addition to that, it’s a case where the perpetrator of the crime, Ms. Balo, took active steps to cover up her crime.”
Prosecutors asked for prison time.
Miller said Balo, who previously worked in the Allen County Commissioners Office and the Allen County Auditor’s Office, tampered with records that documented who was on the policies.
At the trial, Warren said Balo was obligated to take both her ex-husband, Steven Balo, and her brother, Richard Roby, off her health insurance plan after they became ineligible.
“Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I’m confused by everything that’s going on,” Balo said. “There’s a lot of things that this would and is changing in my life. I studied for my [certified public accountant exam]. I can’t take that now. There’s just a lot of things that this is changing. It’s just frustrating. That’s all I have to say.”
Warren said Balo should have known better.
“The attitude is see if you can get away with it and if so great,” Warren said. “If not, come in and claim no harm, no foul. That isn’t the case.”
Miller said Steven Balo already has repaid more than $5,600.