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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
David Paulson, 410-576-6357
dpaulson@oag.state.md.us

Former DNR Employee Sentenced for Illegal Purchases Scheme
Prince George's Co. woman will reimburse agency more than $46,000

Baltimore, MD (March 26, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that former Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employee Tabitha Y. Contee, 39, of Upper Marlboro, was sentenced in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to five years incarceration with all but six months suspended. Judge Paul A. Hackner also ordered Contee to complete five years of supervised probation upon her release and make restitution in the amount of $46,510.70 to DNR. Contee pled guilty last month to felony theft over $10,000.

"State-issued credit cards are not a perk to be used for employees' own benefit," said Attorney General Gansler. "Misuse of taxpayer dollars is a serious breach of the public trust that casts a negative light on tens of thousands of law-abiding state employees who are stewards of Marylanders' hard-earned money."

Between May 2, 2007 and Dec. 17, 2009, while employed at DNR, Contee made more than $46,000 in unauthorized, personal purchases using her state-issued corporate purchasing card. Contee routinely fabricated fraudulent invoices and receipts in an attempt to cover up her scheme and had several large-scale items delivered directly to her home. An investigation revealed that Contee bought high-end electronics, designer handbags, furniture and thousands of dollars worth of Visa gift cards.

The questionable purchases were originally uncovered by the Office of Legislative Audits and, upon referral, an investigation was conducted by the Attorney General's Criminal Division and the Maryland State Police. Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Megan Davey Limarzi and Investigative Auditor Jim Williams for their work on the case.

   

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