LIMA — A former Allen County employee convicted of a felony theft charge for keeping her ex-husband on her health insurance policy after their divorce faces up to 18 months in prison when she is sentenced next month.
Crystal Balo, 31, was convicted Wednesday of grand theft by deception, a fourth-degree felony. She is scheduled to be sentenced June 16.
Allen County Common Pleas Judge Richard Warren, who rendered the verdict following a bench trial, said Balo was obligated to take her ex-husband and her brother off her health insurance plan after they became ineligible.
Warren even suggested she had a greater obligation since she managed the plan for several years for the county.
“She was in charge of processing medical health benefits,” Warren said. “She knew the duties of employees and herself to notify Anthem and the county of any changes in eligibility.”
Balo’s attorney, Mike Rumer, declined comment after the verdict.
Allen County Commissioner Sam Bassitt said he expects changes in the oversight of the county health insurance program to prevent a repeat of the Balo case. However, he said due to budget cuts leading to fewer employees and more work to do it is harder to monitor everything.
“It’s an employee’s responsibility to act honorably and legally and lawfully,” Bassitt said.
Balo’s ex-husband, Steven Balo ran up $5,727 in claims billed to her health insurance and her brother, Richard Roby, ran up $2,974 in claims, according to testimony. Balo had custody of her brother but after his 19th birthday he became ineligible for health insurance under her plan.
Balo administered the county’s health insurance program while she worked in the commissioners’ office from Sept. 16, 2002, to Feb. 15, 2006, when she left to take a job in the Allen County Auditor’s Office. She worked there until she was fired last September after the crime was discovered.
The crime occurred between January 2004 and September 2009, prosecutors said.
Balo divorced Steven Balo in 2006 but he stayed on her insurance policy until last September. He was convicted of misdemeanor insurance fraud and received a suspended 60-day jail sentence.
The crime was discovered during a routine audit checking on the eligibility of dependents in the health insurance plan.
Judge finds Balo guilty of grand theft by deception