Businessman Lance Lucas pleads guilty to bribing former Del. Cheryl Glenn

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Del. Cheryl Glenn, D-Balimote City, speaks at an event on food access and environmental health in the House of Delegates.

Local businessman Lance Lucas today pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud and related charges, admitting he bribed former Del. Cheryl Glenn with $42,500 if she pushed bills that helped Lucas and his associates.

Glenn, who represented the 45th District, abruptly resigned from her seat in mid-December. Four days later, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland unsealed a criminal information outlining wire fraud and bribery counts against Glenn.

She pleaded guilty to corruption charges in January.

According to today’s plea, Glenn passed a bill during the 2018 session to allot $2.5 million to the Cyber Warrior Diversity Program to train students in cybersecurity. Lucas, a co-founder of Digit All City, conceived of the program in 2017 and enlisted the U.S. Department of Defense and Northrop Grumman to help with the training at Morgan State University and Coppin State University.

From May 2018 to July 2019, Lucas made 11 total payments to Glenn to secure her support for a bill revising the cybersecurity program and to help two businesses obtain cannabis licenses.

Shortly after the bill providing funds to the program passed, Lucas met with Glenn and told her a business, identified as “Company 2,” had trouble securing a medical dispensary license.

Per the plea, Glenn said something to the effect of, if the business had given the money it spent to her, she would have written a bill in the legislature granting a license to Company 2.

Lucas later provided her with four money orders for $500 each. In August, Glenn arranged a meeting with Lucas, members of Company 2 and the chairman of the state’s cannabis commission. After the meeting, Glenn said her campaign account was at “zero because of the challenging Primary” and asked for Lucas’ support.

Lucas gave her three subsequent payments totaling $4,000.

In February 2019, Lucas went to Glenn’s office to discuss a House bill expanding the Cyber Warrior Diversity Program to more locations. He pushed to have a provision requiring that companies meet certain criteria to receive contracts–a measure that was cut from the 2018 bill–be added back in. He explained his company would receive payments from the colleges using the curriculum.

After agreeing to pay $1,500, he sent Glenn an email with a list of talking points related to the legislation, House Bill 1315.

A month later, both met outside an Annapolis restaurant in Lucas’ Porsche, and Glenn said there was a problem with a delegate on the Rules Committee. She said HB 1315 did not make the list to get voted out of committee and one delegate–a fictitious character, according to the plea–wanted $1,000 to pass it.

Lucas agreed to the payment, and broached another deal: He offered up to $80,000 to help a company, identified as “Company 3,” get an advantage in the “double-blind” application process to receive a license to grow cannabis.

“I need any advantage I can get,” he said.

When they met again in March 2019, Glenn said she had someone on the commission–this was also a fictitious character, prosecutors say–who would give the company an advantage. But she expressed reservations, saying she could get in a lot of trouble.

“I’m from Baltimore for real, for real Baltimore…” Lucas responded. “This is like patty-cake compared to the shit in Baltimore City.”

Glenn said the commission member wanted $50,000. Lucas asked her to think about what she wanted for her role in the deal. On March 27, 2019, she texted him, “Getting ready to buy lottery tickets, 20 should get me a winner,” meaning she wanted $20,000.

They agreed to break down the payments into multiple installments.

Lucas faces a maximum of 20 years for the wire fraud count a maximum of five years for violating the Travel Act, a federal statue regulating interstate and foreign commerce.

Brandon Weigel

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