NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


October 26, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER DSS EMPLOYEE CONVICTED ON FELONY THEFT CHARGES

Baltimore -Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a former case worker employed by the Baltimore City Department of Social Services (DSS), Marion Yvette Royster Umezurik, age 36, pleaded guilty to felony theft in Baltimore City Circuit Court before Judge Allen L. Schwait. Between September 27, 1997 and December 14, 1997, Ms. Royster Umezurik plotted to steal, and stole funds in the amount of $13,212, the property of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. Ms. Royster Umezurik began working for DSS in May of 1997.

The monies were stolen in a scheme initiated by Ms. Royster Umezurik, who drafted the aid of two of her public assistance recipient clients. With no legitimate justification or authority, Ms. Royster Umezurik increased the amount of public assistance funds transferred into the accounts of the two clients by forging authorization forms. The unauthorized money provided to the two recipientsí public assistance accounts was subsequently withdrawn by Ms. Royster Umezurik alone or by Umezurik and her two clients, as they withdrew the cash from an automatic teller machine via their Independence Card accounts. Ms. Royster Umezurik shared part of the money stolen with her clients. The state obtained surveillance film from various bank automatic teller machines which revealed that she was present when both clients withdrew cash from their DSS accounts. The total amount stolen was $13,212.58. "The defendant and her co-conspirators not only broke the law, when they stole money from DSS," Attorney General Curran said, "they deprived other DSS recipients of much-needed assistance."

Sentencing of Ms. Royster Umezurik will be held on January 4, 2001. Ms. Royster Umezurik faces a possible penalty including incarceration up to a maximum of 15 years, a five-year period of supervised probation, and may be ordered to pay $13,212 in restitution.

This case was referred to the Office of the Attorney General by the Department of Human Resources, Office of the Inspector General. Ms. Royster Umezurik was initially suspended before she resigned from her employment at the Department of Social Services in late 1997.

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