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Baltimore Inspector General's report shows $9 million in savings, restitution to be paid to city

The Baltimore Inspector General's office recovered $9 million for city over last fiscal year, report shows.

The Baltimore inspector general's office saved the city about $9 million in the last year by preventing waste, avoiding unnecessary expenses and recovering money, according to a report released Thursday.

Inspector General Robert H. Pearre Jr. outlined the work his office performed during the 2016 fiscal year in a 26-page report. It included the conclusion of a corruption case involving government workers and trash haulers at the city-owned Quarantine Road Landfill.

The workers and trash haulers were ordered to pay the city more than $8 million in restitution in connection with the case, in which the group allegedly paid and received bribes in exchange for not being charged dumping fees at the city landfill over a 14-year period.

In a related scheme, a group of city workers sold scrap metal dumped at city sites over a period of nine years and pocketed the money.

"Successful prosecutions act as a deterrent to other city employees or contractors who may have considered similar behavior," according to the report. "Prosecution can also result in recovery of funds when court-ordered restitution is included at sentencing."

Five city employees and six trash haulers were indicted in June 2015 in conjunction with state and federal law enforcement investigations. A sixth city employee is scheduled for sentencing in the coming months.

The city also is to collect $165,000 in restitution from Investment Management Enterprise, a corporation that pleaded guilty to theft after overbilling the Mayor's Office of Information Technology.

Pearre said the office also uncovered nearly $532,000 in waste during the fiscal year that ended in June.

Among the cases was an evaluation of parking passes issued by the Parking Authority of Baltimore City to various agencies. An investigation found ways officials could improve controls over the use of the passes, such as deactivating about 50 passes at an estimated annual savings of up to $80,000.

The inspectors found that city schools wasted about $258,000 on artwork commissioned for various campuses that was later missing, discarded or in disrepair.

Other cases last year involved city workers using government computers to view pornography on the job and one worker who deceived a citizen into signing over the title on that person's vehicle, selling it to a local scrap yard for cash.

The budget for the inspector general's office last year, including reimbursements, was about $1.1 million.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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