February 14, 2006
FORMER MARYLAND HOME IMPROVEMENT COMMISSION EMPLOYEE
CONVICTED OF EXTORTION
Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today
that 31 year old Teera Armstrong Murray of the 1200 block of Dalton
Road, Baltimore, Maryland pled guilty in District Court of Maryland,
Baltimore County to one count of Extortion by a State Employee.
The Honorable Barbara R. Jung sentenced Murray to six months imprisonment,
suspending all but 68 days, gave credit for time served (68 days)
and placed Murray on one year of supervised probation.
the State’s proof, Murray, a former office
service clerk for the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC),
attempted to extort $400.00 from a Baltimore County resident who
was applying for a home improvement license. On December 7, 2004,
when the applicant telephoned MHIC to inquire about the status
of the application, Murray stated it had been denied. Several days
later, Murray phoned the applicant and advised the license was
approved but "it will cost you a little." The applicant
inquired further as to what Murray meant and offered to send a
thank you card. Murray replied "no, I would prefer cash." Murray
called the applicant later that day and left a telephone message
that said in part "I don’t know what you are willing
to pay, but it is going to be between four and five.” The
applicant reported the extortion to the Baltimore County Police.
While a police officer was present, the applicant called Murray
back. When the applicant asked what the money was for, Murray responded "for
approving your license."
Murray is no longer employed with the State of Maryland.
The case was prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General,
Criminal Investigations Division and was investigated by CID with
the assistance of the Baltimore County Police Department and a
Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation investigator. Maryland
State Police effected the arrest.