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


January 11, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICE WORKER CHARGED WITH THEFT FROM VULNERABLE ADULT CLIENTS

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today the filing of a felony theft charge against a Dorchester County licensed social worker, alleging that she stole $4,400 from four vulnerable adult clients while they were in her care. Johanne Nibblett, 41, of Delmar, Maryland, was charged with the thefts during an 18-month period, while she was employed by the Dorchester County Department of Social Services in its Adult Protective Services unit. Charges were filed against Nibblett after a lengthy investigation by the Department of Human Resourcesí Office of the Inspector General.

According to the Attorney General, these charges are part of his ongoing initiative to combat elder exploitation. Said Curran, "stealing from the very people who you are supposed to protect, who are too old or too sick to take care of themselves, is a reprehensible violation of trust - and constitutes criminal behavior which we will vigorously pursue." He added that he expects to be filing charges against other vulnerable adult care givers in the near future.

In September, Attorney General Curran announced Marylandís Project SAFE (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation), a joint initiative with the Department of Aging, Department of Human Resources and the Maryland Bankers Association. The program is designed to train bank personnel how to spot and report possible cases of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

Although everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, if convicted, Ms. Nibblett faces a maximum penalty of 15 years incarceration, a $1,000 fine and restitution.

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