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For Immediate Release
December 6, 2004
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

FORMER JURY COMMISSIONER CONVICTED
OF STEALING $143,000 FROM THE COURT

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today the conviction of Gay E. Hommel, 41, of Riverside Drive in Salisbury, of stealing over $143,000 from the Wicomico County Circuit Court while she served as its Jury Commissioner. Hommel entered a plea of guilty to the theft scheme today before the Honorable J. Owen Wise, specially sitting in the Wicomico County Circuit Court. Hommel also pled guilty to two counts of perjury and three counts of filing false State income tax returns for failing to report as income the money that she stole between 1999 and 2003, when her scheme was discovered and she was fired.

The case was referred to the Criminal Investigations Division of the Attorney General’s Office by the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, and was investigated by CID and the Maryland State Police.

According to the State’s Statement of Facts, Hommel - who had sole signature authority over the Jury Commissioner’s bank account - stole money in two ways. She wrote over 100 checks to "cash", which she cashed and then deposited the proceeds into her personal bank accounts. Secondly, she wrote 40 additional checks to the bank, which she also cashed and then used the proceeds to purchase money orders in the name of a fictitious person and made payable to Hommel, which she then deposited into her personal accounts.

Her scheme was discovered in late July, 2003 when her supervisor, Judicial Administrator Wendy Riley, noticed large checks to "cash" written on the Jury Commissioner account which Hommel had left sitting on top of her desk. Also on top of her desk were statements from her personal bank account, on which her supervisor noticed corresponding deposits of cash in similar amounts. Ms. Riley reported her suspicions to the Administrative Judge, who notified the State’s Attorney and the State Police. Mrs. Hommel was immediately put on administrative leave and then fired. So as to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, the State’s Attorney, Davis Ruark, requested that the Attorney General’s Office handle the investigation and prosecution of the case.

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