Morgan employee accused of stealing $66,000 from state

A Morgan State University employee with a previous record of theft was indicted this week, with prosecutors alleging he stole $66,000 in state funds.

Robert Lee Terrell, 70, of Baltimore was arrested Tuesday and charged with five counts of felony theft and one count of felony theft scheme, according to the Maryland Attorney General's Office. The indictment did not provide details on how Terrell allegedly stole the money and prosecutors declined to elaborate on the charges.

Terrell was the director of the Restricted Funds Accounting office, which oversees grants and contracts, and was hired in 2004, according to the university. As of Wednesday, he was still listed in the employee directory on Morgan's website.

The indictment alleges Terrell stole the money over a period of time from 2009 to 2011.

Terrell's arraignment is pending and online court records were unavailable for the case. It is unclear whether he has obtained an attorney.

"This matter was discovered by the university's internal auditors, and promptly forwarded to the Attorney General's office," Morgan spokesman Jarrett Carter Sr. said in a statement. "We continue to cooperate fully with their investigation."

Morgan spokesman Clint Coleman said university employees who are arrested are typically suspended until they have their day in court. He declined to comment further on Terrell.

In 1998, Terrell pleaded guilty to one count of a theft scheme over $300 and spent a month in jail, according to online court records. He was given probation, which was extended until 2010 after he violated the probation three times.

Coleman said that the university's background check procedures were less stringent before 2010, with many employees simply asked to disclose whether they had a criminal record in an "honor system." All new employees now undergo a full background check before they're hired, Coleman said.

Terrell faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine on the felony theft scheme charge, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine on the two counts of felony theft over $10,000, and a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on three counts of theft over $1,000.

Two other Morgan employees have been indicted in recent years. Bernard Jermaine Healthington was charged with stealing more than $200,000 in state funds in 2012. He pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Manoj Kumar Jha, 45, a full-time engineering professor, was accused of defrauding the National Science Foundation through a bogus grant proposal in 2012. His case is still pending.

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