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Former Baltimore City Social Services Employee Sentenced for Felony Theft

BALTIMORE, MD ( May 24, 2011) – Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that former Baltimore City Department of Social Services employee Joyce Renay Flowers, 41, of Baltimore, was sentenced by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Marcus Z. Shar to 25 years in jail with all but 5 years suspended after pleading guilty to one count of felony theft over $100,000 in April. Flowers was also ordered to complete 5 years of supervised probation upon her release and pay restitution in the amount of $374,462.

Between August 8, 2008, and October 15, 2009, while employed at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services, Flowers accessed the computer system used to track welfare recipients and created 17 fictitious welfare recipients. She took possession of the Independence Cards, which are used as the means for distributing benefits to qualified welfare recipients, and then fabricated information, such as adding additional dependents, so as to increase the amount of money dispersed to the fictitious clients. Using the Independence Cards, and based upon her fraudulent actions, Flowers accessed cash assistance and food stamp benefits totaling $416,750.37. ATM footage secured from M&T Bank showed Flowers using the cards for cash withdrawals. The investigation also revealed that she provided cards to at least one other friend for her own personal use. Co-defendant, Ardrina Wise, also pleaded guilty to involvement in the scheme and was sentenced in April.

In addition to depositing large sums of cash into her personal accounts, Flowers purchased numerous laptop and desktop computers, flat screen televisions, furniture, appliances, cruise vacations, a BMW X5, and jewelry.

This case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Criminal Division and the Maryland State Police with assistance from the Maryland Department of Human Resources’ Office of the Inspector General and Security at M&T Bank. In making today’s announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Megan Davey Limarzi, Investigative Auditor Harry Schulz, and Cpl. Sha Brown for their work on the case.

Media Contact:
Steve Ruckman, 410-576-7035

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