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Inspector general report: Baltimore DPW cashier embezzled $455 during ransomware attack

The Baltimore City Department of General Services will start extensive repair work on the facade of City Hall which was built in 1875 using Cockeysville marble.
The Baltimore City Department of General Services will start extensive repair work on the facade of City Hall which was built in 1875 using Cockeysville marble. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

A Baltimore public works cashier took advantage of the ransomware attack on the city’s computers to pocket cash from customers at a trash transfer station, according to an audit released Friday.

When the ransomware attack crippled the city’s computer systems beginning in May, workers at the city trash transfer stations had to resort to hand-writing intake tickets for small commercial haulers who brought in trash.

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A cashier at the Northwest Transfer Station on Reisterstown Road may have kept $455.73 for herself, according to a report from the Office of the Inspector General.

Public works officials turned over 16 shredded intake tickets to the inspector general for the investigation, which found the same employee was working at the time those tickets were written, according to the report.

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The daily logs and the cash intake for those days did not match up, according to the report.

Investigators were able to confirm with only two of those 16 customers how much they had paid.

The employee was charged and pleaded guilty in Baltimore District Court to theft of less than $100, according to the report. She also was fired.

Matthew W. Garbark, deputy director of public works, wrote in a response to the report that the department is planning to improve surveillance equipment at the Northwest Transfer Station and develop new standard operating procedures “to ensure that all financial transactions are properly accounted for and safeguarded.”

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