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Maryland state prosecutor charges three in scheme to steal from prison payroll system

The state prosecutor’s office has charged three Maryland prison system employees — a payroll technician and two correctional officers ― in a kickback scheme involving unearned overtime pay.

Fiscal technician Shantil Carter, 48, and correctional officers Okezie Chidume, 40, and Gerald Leon Solomon Jr., 35, were indicted by a Baltimore County grand jury on charges of theft, bribery and related charges.

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Prosecutors say Chidume, of Windsor Mill, was paid more than $33,000 for work he did not perform; Solomon, of Glen Burnie, brought home $27,000. Carter, who altered their time cards, received a cut, prosecutors say.

The indictment contains dozens of text messages that prosecutors say document the fraud.

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“I got to be able to pay for that vacation you want so much,” Chidume told Carter in a May 2018 text message.

Solomon sent Carter a text in Jan. 2019 saying, “Can you look out for me Tuesday and we can do 750 on the next check.”

“Have I ever not taken care of things ... lol,” Carter, of Owings Mills, told Solomon in a March 2019 exchange. “I’m your big sister and your family has to eat.”

Robert Green, secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said in a statement that the alleged scheme was discovered by his agency’s intelligence and investigative division, whose detectives “took immediate action and worked with the state prosecutor to stop the conspiracy and identify those responsible.”

Carter and Chidume were released on $15,000 unsecured property bond. Solomon does not appear to have made his first appearance in court.

Carter faces pending unrelated aggravated animal cruelty charges filed in August in Baltimore County. Her attorney could not be reached for comment.

Chidume and Solomon did not have attorneys listed and could not be reached for comment.

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