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


August 31, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

ADULT CARE PROVIDER SENTENCED TO SIX MONTHS FOR STEALING OVER $6,700 FROM A VULNERABLE ADULT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the sentencing of Lisa Renee Sanford, of Upper Marlboro, in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, on her conviction 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. Judge Graydon S. McKee, III sentenced Sanford, 38, to three years incarceration with all but six months suspended, to be served in the Prince George’s County Detention Center. She had pleaded guilty in May to one count of felony theft. As of today’s date, Ms. Sanford has paid back $4,500 of the more than $6,500 she stole. Judge McKee delayed Sanford’s surrender until October 15, to give her time to see if she qualifies for the home detention program and ordered Sanford to make restitution in the remaining amount of $2,226.

When she stole the money, Ms. Sanford was an Adult Home Care Provider licensed by the Prince George’s 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 within a month, after which he 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. Ms. Sanford has been terminated by the Department and is no longer a licensed Adult Home Care Provider.

Attorney General Curran noted that this case is part of his initiative against vulnerable adult exploitation, an initiative under which his prosecutors have already obtained convictions on similar charges against other adult care workers in Dorchester County and Baltimore City. They are awaiting trial in Howard County, in a case involving embezzlement from a vulnerable adult by his stockbroker son, State v. Washington.

"We will continue to vigilantly prosecute those people who abuse their authority and take advantage of those who cannot protect themselves," Attorney General Curran said.

###