Amy McLaine arrested for theft

Amy McLaine

A Berks County businesswoman faces theft charges after authorities said she issued bad checks to clients who submitted reimbursement claims to their insurance health savings accounts she administered.

Amy M. McLaine, 47, of the first block of Timothy Leo Court, Ruscombmanor Township, turned herself in to the Berks County sheriff's office on Friday night. She remained free to await a hearing after arraignment before District Judge Tonya A. Butler in Reading Central Court.

Bern Township police last week charged McLaine with a felony count of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and a misdemeanor count of issuing bad checks.

According to the criminal complaint:

McLaine served as president of Alternative Business Systems, or ABS, a health plan administrator based in Maidencreek Township.

Early in the summer, Bern police were contacted by Heather Everson, chief business officer for Zee Medical, which subscribed to a health savings account with ABS.

Everson told the investigator assigned to the case, Officer Peter O'Brien, that she had not been able to reach anyone at ABS and had no access to Zee's funds for longer than two months. She also drove to the ABS offices, and it appeared to be vacant and boarded up.

Everson said that between April 16 and June 19, she made at least 10 unsuccessful attempts to check on the status of claims with ABS.

On June 24, she received two claim checks, one for a Bern Township man who was her client.

The checks were drawn on Tompkins VIST Bank, one to Everson for $1,270 and one to the client for $2,700.

The checks were signed by Amy McLaine, who was listed as president of ABS.

Everson deposited both checks into an account at the bank on June 26.

Two days later, she was notified by the bank that ABS issued a "stop payment" order on both checks before Everson deposited them, so she wasn't credited with a deposit.

Everson later received an email from ABS stating they issued a stop payment. No explanation was provided, and Everson said there was no reason to stop payment and she believed it was done due to insufficient funds to support the two checks.

On July 11, O'Brien obtained a search warrant for the ABS checking account.

The account balance showed that on the day the checks were printed, May 22, there was sufficient funds to support the checks. However, the next day the account was overdrawn.

The investigator said he made at least six calls to McLaine, and went to her home and business in an attempt to contact her with no success.

During the investigation, O'Brien learned of other businesses and individuals who have experienced similar problems with receiving payments for their claims through ABS.

Eye Consultant of Pennsylvania, Wyomissing, in August filed a civil claim against ABS and McLaine, seeking payment of $21,390 it says it is owed, according to records on file at the Berks County Prothonotary's Office.

On its website, ABS describes itself as a "plan administration and compliance solutions" provider for businesses of all size. Under the company's name is the slogan, "Helping you keep more money in your pocket since 1991."

Attempts to reach the company by phone were unsuccessful. A voice message couldn't be left because the mailbox was full.

Company officials have not responded to an email request for comment about the company's status and the charges against its president.

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