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


April 30, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER CATHOLIC CHARITIES WORKER CONVICTED OF STEALING FROM INCAPACITATED CLIENTS

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a former Catholic Charities social worker, Wanda Wilson, 53, has pleaded guilty to stealing over $14,000 from eight of her clients, all of whom were incapacitated adults suffering from severe mental and physical disabilities. When the thefts were discovered by Catholic Charities, a public welfare organization that provided services to vulnerable adults in Baltimore Cityís Adult Protective Services program, it conducted an internal audit and referred the matter to authorities. The charges grew out of a joint investigation by the Department of Human Resourcesí Inspector Generalís Office and Curranís Criminal Investigations Division.

Wilson, of Tregarone Rd. in Timonium, admitted to Judge David Mitchell of the Baltimore City Circuit Court that she stole the money from her clients whose care she supervised between 1997 and1999, when her thefts were discovered and she resigned her position. Judge Mitchell set sentencing for June 5, 2001.

In announcing the conviction, Curran stated that the investigation is one of several his office is conducting as part of an office-wide initiative to protect the rights of senior citizens. He stressed his role in representing the most vulnerable of victims of both physical and financial abuse - namely, the elderly and the sick. The initiative has already led to the conviction of a Dorchester County social worker, Johanne Nibblett, for stealing money from four of her Adult Protective Services clients. Similar charges have also been filed in Prince Georgeís County, against a licensed home care provider, for stealing the welfare benefits of the mentally disabled individual in her care.

"Ms. Wilson stole from the very people for whom she was assigned to care," Attorney General Curran said. "These people were extremely vulnerable and Ms. Wilson took advantage of them. I am pleased our office was able to act aggressively on their behalf."

The maximum penalty for theft is 15 years incarceration, a $1,000 fine and restitution.. Ms. Wilsonís convictions could also lead to the revocation of her license to practice social work.

###