Crime, Police/Fire

Baltimore correctional officers plead guilty to felony theft, misconduct charges in time card fraud scheme

BALTIMORE, MD—Two Baltimore correctional officers have pleaded guilty to charges of felony theft and misconduct in office in connection with a time card fraud scheme.

Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton Howard on Thursday announced that Sharonda Stokes and Dephany McKnight, former Correctional Officers assigned to the Metropolitan Transition Center in Baltimore, pleaded guilty this week in Baltimore County Circuit Court to charges of Felony Theft Scheme and Misconduct in Office.

Stokes was sentenced to 5 years’ incarceration, all suspended, and 5 years’ probation. Stokes was also ordered to pay $74,790.95 in restitution to the State of Maryland.

McKnight was sentenced to 5 years’ incarceration, all suspended, and 5 years’ probation. McKnight was also ordered to pay $28,652.43 in restitution to the State of Maryland.

As part of the statement of facts accompanying their pleas, Stokes and McKnight acknowledged that, during their employment as Correctional Officers for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, they were prohibited from making changes to their documented work hours in the human resources management program Workday. Stokes and McKnight, however, exploited a flaw in the Workday mobile application to add hours to their timesheets that they did not work.

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Stokes improperly inflated her documented work hours on at least 39 occasions, claiming an additional 2,341.45 hours that she did not work. Her fraudulent reporting resulted in a collective theft of $74,790.95 from the State of Maryland.

McKnight improperly inflated her documented work hours on at least twenty-nine 29 occasions, claiming an additional 1,057.79 hours that she did not work. Her fraudulent reporting resulted in a collective theft of $28,652.43 from the State of Maryland.

“Ms. Stokes and Ms. McKnight abused their positions of trust to steal money from Maryland taxpayers,” said Howard. “They have now been held accountable. Our office will continue to investigate and where appropriate prosecute any allegation of criminal behavior by state or local public officials.”

“This was an outstanding cooperative investigation by DPSCS detectives and the State Prosecutor. We are committed to rooting out any vestige of fraud and corruption because our hardworking correctional employees deserve better,” said Robert Green, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

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