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Assistant principal pleads guilty to stealing credit cards from colleagues

TheftCredit and Debt

A Howard County assistant principal pleaded guilty Monday to stealing credit cards from school system employees and using them to make several purchases last December.

Patricia Kelly Murray, of Severna Park, who is currently on administrative leave from her position at Howard High School, pleaded guilty to use of a stolen credit card to purchase goods/services in excess of $500, identity fraud, and theft under $1,000 in two of the three pending cases, according to T. Wayne Kirwan, spokesman for the Howard County State's Attorney's Office. The third case was placed on the inactive docket.

Murray, 40, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 16. The state will be asking for up to one year of jail time and five years of probation, and for Murray to pay restitution to the victims, according to Kirwan.

During the June 4 plea hearing, assistant state's attorney Devora Pontell told Howard County Circuit Court Judge Dennis M. Sweeney that Murray made eight purchases at four Montgomery Mall stores with a credit card stolen from a Long Reach High assistant principal totaling nearly $1,800, according to Kirwan.

In a second case, Pontell said Murray used a stolen credit card from the principal of Laurel Woods Elementary "to obtain gift cards and presents for her family," according to Kirwan.

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