11.15.12: For Stealing More Than $30,000 from Her Employer, the Department of Public Works, Hooper Pleads Guilty

November 15, 2012 -- Former Baltimore City Department of Public Works employee, Christine Hooper, 46, pled guilty today before Circuit Court Judge Jeannie Hong to theft in excess of $30,000 through the submission of inflated overtime hours that she did not work from September 1, 2009 through April 20, 2011 and received a one-year suspended sentence, three years of probation, and an order to repay the city in full.

A Public Works employee since 1986, Hooper was serving as an administrative officer at the Ashburton Water Treatment Center at the time of the theft, and was responsible for various human resource functions, including payroll administration.

On April 11, 2012, DPW supervisors notified the Baltimore City Office of the Inspector General of their suspicions that Hooper had been inflating her overtime and compensatory hours. During the ensuing investigation, agents of the Inspector General's Office conducted numerous interviews and evaluated payroll records, concluding that Hooper reported $33,741.78 worth of overtime and compensatory time that she did not earn.

Suspended without pay from DPW while the IG conducted its investigation, Hooper was ultimately terminated.

Under the terms of today's agreement, Hooper, who pled guilty to one count of continuing theft, is responsible for reimbursing the City for the entire sum. She was given credit for $10,917 worth of unused personal leave, sick leave, and vacation time, leaving her with a balance of $22,824.78 to be paid.

"The authorities at the Department of Public Works should be commended for discovering the fraud and cooperating fully with the investigation, which was handled in a thorough and exemplary manner by Inspector General McClintock's Office," said State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, who prosecuted the case. "We remain committed to aggressively prosecuting public employees who betray the trust placed in them by the citizens they serve."

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