Tax Money Stolen By Elected Official In Anne Arundel County: Prosecutor
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD - An Anne Arundel County elected official was accused of cashing and stealing a $6,000 tax payment check for personal use, prosecutors said Friday.
The prosecution identified the suspect as Erica Griswold, the register of wills for Anne Arundel County.
Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard III said a grand jury indicted Griswold on charges of misconduct in office, misappropriation by a fiduciary and theft.
“Government officials are expected to be good stewards of the public funds entrusted to them,” Howard said in a press release. “Our agency strives to hold individuals in positions of public trust accountable if they violate that trust for personal gain.”
The register of wills collects inheritance tax.
Griswold, a Democrat, was elected in 2022 after defeating Republican Lauren M. Parker by 1.1 percentage points.
Griswold's annual salary as the register of wills is about $146,000, the indictment says.
The Office of the Register of Wills in Anne Arundel County received a cashier's check for $6,645 on or about June 16, 2023, the indictment says.
The remitter, or sender, of the check was the beneficiary of an open estate with the office. The check was made payable to Griswold "for the purpose of satisfying an invoice received from the Office for payment of non-probate inheritance tax," the indictment says.
The indictment alleges that Griswold cashed the check for cash paid directly to her at an Annapolis bank on or around June 22, 2023.
The remitter of the check contacted Griswold's office on or about Aug. 4, 2023 to ask why he was still receiving invoices for the $6,645 due in inheritance tax that he thought he had already paid, the indictment says.
The indictment says Griswold was notified that day that the remitter had asked why he was still receiving these invoices.
Over the course of several months, many government employees told Griswold that it was important that she repay the money, the indictment says.
The indictment says Griswold had not repaid any of the money by Jan. 24.
An indictment formally charges a suspect with a crime, but it does not prove that a suspect is guilty. Griswold still has the right to a trial.
The full indictment is posted here.
Patch emailed Griswold's office for a comment. We have not yet gotten a reply. We will update this story if we hear back.
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