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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Former Baltimore City Social Services Employee, City Teacher
Plead Guilty to Felony Theft

BALTIMORE, MD ( April 12, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that former Baltimore City Department of Social Services employee Joyce Renay Flowers, 41, of Baltimore, entered a plea of guilty to one count of felony theft over $100,000.  Her co-defendant, Baltimore City teacher Ardrina Wise, 38, of Rosedale, entered a plea of guilty to one count of felony theft between $10,000 and $100,000 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.  Sentencing for Flowers is scheduled for May 24th.  Judge Marcus Z. Shar sentenced Wise to five years in jail, suspended all but 45 days, to be served on 22 consecutive weekends.

Between August 8, 2008 and October 15, 2009, while employed at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, Flowers accessed the computer system used to track welfare recipients and created 17 fictitious clients.  She took possession of the Independence Cards which are used as the means for distributing benefits to qualified welfare recipients and then fabricated information to increase the amount of money dispersed to the fictitious clients.  Using the Independence Cards, Flowers accessed cash assistance and food stamp benefits totaling $416,750.37.  ATM footage secured from M&T Bank showed Flowers using the cards for cash withdrawals.  The investigation also revealed that she provided cards to Wise for her own personal use. 

In addition to depositing large sums of cash into her personal accounts, Flowers purchased numerous laptop computers, flat screen televisions, furniture, appliances, cruises, a BMW X5 and jewelry.

This case was investigated by the Attorney General's Criminal Division and the Maryland State Police with assistance from the Maryland Department of Human Resources' Office of the Inspector General and Security at M&T Bank.  In making today's announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Megan Davey Limarzi, Investigative Auditor Harry Schulz and Cpl. Sha Brown for their work on the case.

   

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