Suspended Fire Chief, Mark Ladas, of the San Mateo Central County Fire Department, plead not guilty Dec. 4, 2014, to charges that he and his wife committed fraud in a complicated scheme netting them $35,000.
According to the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office, Ladas has been charged with six counts of grand theft, two counts of filing false tax returns, and two counts of tax evasion. He spent the night of Dec. 3rd in jail before his sister posted $80,000 for his release on the afternoon of Thursday the 4th. Ladas was released only after he offered his passport and agreed not to leave the state of California, said Deputy District Attorney Karnen Guidotti.
Ladas was placed on paid administrative leave by the fire district until further notice pending the outcome of his trail. Deputy Chief John Kammeyer was appointed as the acting fire chief in Ladas’s absence.
Ladas’s wife, Peta Ladas, allegedly devised the plan where she would open credit cards using false names along with fictitious businesses, and charge the credit cards to those businesses. She would then move the money to other bank accounts using the phony names.
Peta Ladas had been previously arrested in Dec. of 2012, for the alleged scheme, but was released on $10,000 bail. She fled the country soon after and remains a fugitive. Before fleeing the country, Peta Ladas stayed in a Burlingame hotel where she left her husband’s wallet behind containing his ID and fake credit cards. Investigators later found $35,000 had been deposited into Mark Ladas’s banking account from the fraudulent transaction scheme.
Both Mark and Peta Ladas filed tax returns from 2011 and 2012 that did not claim the additional $35,000 income. Once located, Peta Ladas will face similar charges as her husband. Mark Ladas will appear at his scheduled court date on the 22nd of January. He is also scheduled for a preliminary hearing on February 26, 2014.