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


May 7, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FORMER TOLL COLLECTOR IS SENTENCED FOR THEFT

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that a former Maryland Transportation Authority toll collector, Latoya Smith, 25, of Darien Road, Baltimore, was sentenced today as a result of her guilty plea entered February 14, 2001, to one count of felony theft. Smith entered a plea of guilt to stealing over $24,304 of toll funds. Smith was employed by the Maryland Transportation Authority from August 1999 until March 2000.

Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Carol E. Smith sentenced Smith to six months' incarceration and the balance of a three-year term of incarceration to be suspended. Upon her release from incarceration, Smith will be placed on supervised probation for a term of five years. Smith is also ordered to pay $24,304 as restitution within the five-year term of probation. She is to complete 200 hours of community service upon her release from incarceration.

In October 1999, shortages in amounts of toll funds collected by Smith began to occur. These shortages were detected by auditors of the Maryland Transportation Authority Finance Division. An audit was completed that compared the amount of money collected, as noted on the end-of-shift deposit slips handed in by Smith, and the number and type of vehicles that passed through her lanes in a shift, in the period August 1999 through March 2000. This audit reflects that Ms. Smith's shortages became substantial approximately three months after she began working for the Maryland Transportation Authority. The Maryland Transportation Authority Police referred this matter to the Office of the Attorney General for investigation and prosecution.

"Stealing of public monies cannot be tolerated. The Office of the Attorney General and the Maryland Transportation Authority will continue to work to ensure that any dishonest toll collectors are caught and prosecuted," Attorney General Curran said.

###