A former Baltimore city schools principal pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing money and property from the alternative high school that she led for three years.
Leslie Lewis, 44, of Owings Mills, worked as the principal of Baltimore Community High School before the school closed last June. Prosecutors said Lewis stole nearly $13,500 from a bank account she set up for the school, which included funds generated by uniforms sales, class dues payments and graduation fees.
Lewis used a debit card associated with this account to make dozens of withdrawals from an ATM at the Maryland Live Casino, prosecutors said.
Lewis also stole more than $35,000 worth of technology from the district by falsifying purchase orders, prosecutors said, taking Bose speakers, Apple MacBooks and iPads.
“There is no one more trusted and relied upon in the school system than a school principal,” said State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt. “The betrayal of that trust by Ms. Lewis is monumentally offensive and cannot be tolerated.”
A sentencing and restitution hearing is scheduled for Jan. 31, the state prosector’s office announced Tuesday.
“Theft from schools is an egregious betrayal of the public trust and a profound disservice to students, families, and communities,” said city schools spokeswoman Edie House-Foster. “We thank the State Prosecutor for his diligence in pursuing this matter and anticipate final resolution during sentencing in the new year.”
Albert Fluker, who formerly worked as a teacher alongside Lewis, was also charged with stealing four flat-screen TVs from Baltimore Community High School. His case was thrown out Tuesday, his attorney Ivan Bates said, after it was determined he was only doing what his principal asked him to do.
An attorney for Lewis could not be reached Tuesday afternoon.
Lewis is the third city schools principal to be convicted by the state prosector’s office of stealing from student activity fund accounts since 2013.
Alisha Trusty, former principal of Western High School, pleaded guilty in October 2015 to stealing about $54,000 from the school’s student activity fund. In March of 2013, William Howard, II, pleaded guilty to stealing over $10,000 from Coppin Academy.