Fire Chief Mark Ladas is facing charges of grand theft for participating in a financial scheme along with his wife.
Grand Theft of $35,000
According to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, Ladas, chief of San Mateo County’s Central County Fire Department, has allegedly fraudulently obtained nearly $35,000 via grand theft, filing false tax returns, and tax evasion.
Ladas, who was appointed chief in April 2013, was arrested December 3rd. He’s in custody on $80,000 bail for charges of six counts of grand theft, two counts of filing false tax returns, and two counts of tax evasion, said Deputy District Attorney Karen Guidotti. Deputy Chief John Kammeyer has been appointed acting chief. Meanwhile, Ladas has been placed on paid administrative leave, which he will remain on until the outcome of the investigation is known.
Years of Investigation and Peta Ladas
According to Guidotti, Ladas’ arrest came after years of investigation into the complicated financial scheme that was allegedly conducted by Ladas’ wife, Peta. Peta has not been arrested, because she fled the country.
White Collar Crime – The Financial Scheme
According to Guidotti, Peta allegedly opened fraudulent credit cards under numerous false names between January 2011 and June 2013. She also set up false business, used the credit cards for false business transactions, and then deposited funds into bank accounts opened under false names. Peta had already been arrested on Dec. 18, 2012, but because she was able to post the $10,000 bail she was released. She fled the country, and according to Guidotti, remains a fugitive. If found, she will face similar charges as Mark, as well as additional charges.
But before she was able to flee the country she stayed in a Burlingame hotel. It was there that she left behind a wallet that contained her husband’s ID and fake credit cards. The maid who discovered the wallet immediately turned it over to Burlingame police. And that’s when the district attorney’s office began its investigation on Mark Ladas.
Investigators found nearly $35,000 of the fraudulently obtained funds had been deposited into three bank accounts Mark had control of. Additionally, the couple’s 2011 and 2012 tax returns did not claim the income.
Source: NBC Los Angeles, San Mateo County’s Central County Fire Chief Charged With Grand Theft, Fraud, December 4, 2014