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


May 18, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

ADULT CARE PROVIDER CONVICTED OF STEALING VULNERABLE ADULTíS BENEFITS

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the conviction of Lisa Renee Sanford, of Upper Marlboro, in Prince Georgeís County Circuit Court, for stealing $6,726 in public assistance funds and food stamp benefits intended for a vulnerable adult in her care, over a six month period between December, 1999 and May, 2000. Sanford, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft before Judge Graydon McKee, who scheduled sentencing for August 17 . As of the date of the guilty plea, Ms. Sanford has paid back $3,000.

As part of the Statement of Facts presented in support of the guilty plea, the court was informed that Ms. Sanford was an Adult Home Care Provider licensed by the Prince Georgeís County Department of Social Services. In September, 1999, a 22 year old mentally impaired individual was assigned to live in her home under her care. His welfare EBT card was assigned to her, together with his PIN number, so she could access his welfare benefits and food stamps for him while under her care. However, the client was terminated from the program in late November of that same year and no longer resided in her home. She nevertheless continued to access his EBT card and withdraw his benefits for herself. The misappropriation was discovered by the agency in May, 2000, by which time the unauthorized withdrawals totaled $6,726.00. Ms. Sanford has been terminated by the Department and is no longer a licensed Adult Home Care Provider.

"It is outrageous when those entrusted with the care of our most vulnerable citizens exploit them to feed their own greed," Curran observed. "We will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."

Attorney General Curran noted that this case is part of an ongoing initiative against vulnerable adult exploitation, an initiative that has already seen the filing of similar type charges against other adult care workers and family members entrusted with the care of vulnerable adults, in Baltimore City, Howard County and Dorchester County. In September 2000, Attorney General Curran announced Project SAFE, a public-private partnership designed to train bank personnel to detect and report suspected cases of financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. The training sessions began in November.

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