A former economic development official in Montgomery County, Maryland, has been sentenced to prison after he admitted to stealing $6.7 million from the county.
In November, he entered a guilty plea to federal charges of fraud and false statements, as well as wire fraud. He also pleaded guilty to state charges of the theft of more than $100,000 and official misconduct.
He was sentenced to four years in prison on the federal charges. He is sentenced to be scheduled next month on the state charges. The judge in the federal case said the state sentence should be served concurrently.
In a hearing in U.S. District Court, the judge said this to the man:
"This was a purposeful plan that involved the largest theft in Montgomery County history, and I cannot look away from that."
The man was accused of stealing the funds to support his gambling habit. He told the court he was sorry and added that he has not gambled for three years. He said he has been in treatment with a psychologist.
"He has arguably put a black mark on Montgomery County," said prosecutor said, adding the crime was compounded because he stole from the department tasked with helping the county grow. "Are businesses going to come to Montgomery County when they know this type of malfeasance has occurred?"
According to court records, the man created a fake company and diverted county funds into it. He used the money to gamble at casinos nationwide.
The county fired him in mid-2017, and he has been working as the office manager for a Virginia cleaning company.
His attorney told the court there was an underlying issue for his actions.
"A gambling addiction and untreated mental health condition directly related to his conduct," he told the judge, adding the defendant "stands before this court with sincere remorse for his crimes."
The man's crime has cost him his career. He also will need to pay restitution from his retirement account. Federal charges are serious and require the help of an experienced defense attorney from the moment charges are filed.