Head Start official indicted in 4-year theft of $335,777


The director of the Ashland Head Start program in Gardenville was indicted this month on charges that she stole $335,777 from the organization over a four-year period.

A Baltimore grand jury indicted Audrey Marie James, 49, on Dec. 15, charging that she had diverted money into an unauthorized bank account from June 30, 2000, to July 21 of this year. During that time, she ran the Head Start program in the 5400 block of Belair Road.

Head Start is a federally funded program for preschool children from low-income families. It is operated by local nonprofit organizations in nearly every county in the nation. There are about a dozen centers in Baltimore.

The Head Start program from which James is accused of stealing is operated by the Rho Xi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

It was unclear yesterday whether James still holds a position with Head Start. No one from the program or the charity that runs it could be reached yesterday.

James was released from jail Wednesday on a $50,000 bond. She is scheduled for a court appearance Jan. 18.

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