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


February 5, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

CURRAN CHARGES SIX BAY BRIDGE TOLL COLLECTORS WITH STEALING, FALSIFYING PUBLIC RECORDS

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that six, currently suspended Maryland Transportation Authority toll collectors at the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge ("Bay Bridge’), have been charged with forgery, making false entries in public documents and theft over a six month period of time, from July 2000 through December 2000. All six defendants, Joselyn April Haines, 35, of Aker Road in Queenstown; Lewis Chester Bell, 40, of Sheldon Avenue in Baltimore; Mary Beaudette Fitzgerald, 34, of Twisting Lane in Bowie; Theresa Jo Allen, 35, of Jupp Road in Glen Burnie; Sharon Ann Walker, 38, of Jacks Lane in Federalsburg, and Shenita Rena Hynson, 34, of Shockley Lane in Cordova, were arrested and promptly taken before court commissioners in Annapolis, so that pre-trial release conditions could be set. Four defendants were detained, pending satisfaction of bond conditions or a bond review hearing set for today in the Anne Arundel County District Court of Maryland in Annapolis. The other three were released with conditions pending until their trial dates.

The state alleges that the defendants were responsible for a total loss of over $1,900 of toll funds due to their employer, the Maryland Transportation Authority. The alleged forged and/or falsified tally sheets turned in by the seven to the Maryland Transportation Authority made it possible for them to divert tolls properly paid by operators of private and commercial vehicles.

"The loss of money in these six cases is almost secondary in importance to abuse of the public trust" said Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. "We will vigorously prosecute State employees like these who we believe falsified State documents to cover the tracks of their crimes."

Though an indictment is merely an accusation of wrongdoing and every individual is presumed innocent unless the State proves the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, if convicted of forgery each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) in fines, and could be ordered to repay the entire amount of financial loss.

This case was referred to the Office of the Attorney General by the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who conducted an extensive investigation which resulted in the arrests, and suspensions from employment with the Maryland Transportation Authority.

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