A former high-ranking Baltimore city administrator who pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.1 million has been sentenced Tuesday to serve four years in prison.
John D. Callan committed "a series of serious, devious, calculated transactions," Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan said last week in ignoring a defense attorney's plea that he sentence Callan to a period of community service instead of prison.
Kaplan imposed a 10-year sentence but suspended six years. He said Callan's four years in prison would be followed by two years of supervised probation.
Callan, 66, of Towson, a former attorney, was a city official for 10 years in charge of running community service programs, with control over city contracts for building leases, insurance, housing and similar expenditures. His last post, as deputy director of the Neighborhood Progress Administration, concluded when his term ended last December.
Between June 10, 1979, and Oct. 10, 1984, Callan embezzled $1,117,977 by sidetracking insurance refunds, forging inflated invoices and overcharging the city for rent of a warehouse he bought with money stolen from the city, according to a statement of facts presented by prosecutors and Callan.
The money was deposited into an unauthorized account he jointly opened in his name and the Mayor's Office of Manpower Resources Support Services. Bank statements for the account were mailed to Callan's home address.
The embezzled money was primarily used for Callan's personal expenditures. He paid for such things as a condominium and town house in Ocean City, Md., stocks, high-interest certificates of deposit, custom-made suits, the restoration of a Corvette, building materials for a house and various real estate investments.
Prosecutors began investigating Callan when a city employe tipped them off about a furnace that Callan claimed Mayor William Donald Schaefer had ordered for a city project. The furnace, costing $3,396, was delivered to the house Callan was building for himself.
Callan pleaded guilty to 19 counts of theft and 13 counts of forgery, and he agreed to repay $970,000 in cash and property. He also agreed to his disbarment and to pay court costs.
Saying this was probably one of the most difficult cases he had ever had, Kaplan added that sentencing Callan to community service would "make a mockery of the entire process."
Prior to sentencing, Callan quoted President Johnson on the day he was sworn in following President Kennedy's assasination: "All that I have, all that I possess, I would gladly give away if I didn't have to be here today."