A former high-level analyst with the State Board of Control pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of bribery stemming from charges that he took thousands of dollars in kickbacks from crime victims seeking compensation for their losses.
Larry Kemble Callahan, 49, was arrested last November outside the state office building in Los Angeles after he allegedly accepted a $1,000 bribe on behalf of a 20-year-old assault victim who had been given $8,800 under the Victims of Crime program, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Lawrence E. Mason.
An associate government programs analyst, Callahan was responsible for reviewing about 150 claims from crime victims each month and recommending whether the board should approve them, according to Judith A. Embree, deputy executive officer of the board.
Embree said the program grants a maximum of $46,000 to each victim to cover medical or therapy expenses, burial costs, rehabilitation or lost wages and support. Before awarding compensation, the board considers such factors as whether the victim played a role in bringing about the crime, which might make him or her ineligible to receive money from the state.
It was assault victim James Walker's godfather, Roy Chambliss, 39, of Lynwood, who told Department of Justice investigators that he and Walker were victims of extortion, Mason said.
Hand Injury 'in Dispute'
In August, Chambliss himself had paid Callahan $8,200 to recommend approval of a $22,000 claim, the prosecutor said. Mason said Chambliss had suffered a hand injury in "a dispute" but was unable to provide further details.
Program officials, citing confidentiality regulations, said they could not discuss specific claims. The program, which awarded $40 million last year, is funded through penalties and fines paid by people convicted of crimes.
The thousands of claims reviewed by Callahan since he joined the Board of Control in January, 1983, are being audited in search of other possible violations, Embree said.
After his arrest, it was learned that Callahan had served a 10-year prison term for a 1961 second- degree murder conviction but had managed to conceal his personal history from various state employers, including the California Youth Authority, Napa State Hospital and the Department of Social Services.
A preliminary hearing for Callahan, who remains free on $3,000 bail, was set for March 18.