Prison guard accused of faking medical excuses

A prison guard at SCI-Greensburg was charged Tuesday with forging various doctor’s excuses over a three-year period to call off work.

Dennis F. Blevins, 50, of 145 Front St., Blairsville, was arraigned before Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour on one charge of theft of services and 15 counts each of forgery and tampering with public records.

The state Department of Corrections began investigating Blevins on Oct. 12, when he called off work, despite already exhausting his yearly sick leave, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by corrections Officer Michael Kondas.

“The following day, Officer Blevins came to work and submitted a copy of a doctor’s excuse from ‘Latrobe Hospital’ with the comments ‘lab testing’,” Kondas wrote in the affidavit.

On Oct. 20, Blevins again called off sick, according to Kondas, and submitted a copy of a doctor’s excuse from “Children’s Community Pediatrics, Blairsville, with the comment, “brought daughter.”

Security officials at SCI-Greensburg then began reviewing Blevins’ doctors’ excuses in recent years and contacting the medical practices.

According to the affidavit, doctors at the Blairsville facility reported Blevins was not at the office Oct. 20, 2008, and his daughter had not been a patient there “for several years.”

“It was obvious that Officer Blevins would take an authentic doctor excuse, change the date, Xerox it and then turn it in to his supervisor,” the affidavit alleges.

Blevins is accused of faking 15 out of 23 medical excuses over three years. Kondas said the total monetary loss in salary and state benefits is $2,200.

Toni Colland, public information officer at SCI-Greensburg, said Blevins was suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. He has been employed at the prison since June 2003.

Kondas was released on recognizance bond. He faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 6 before Mansour.

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