An ex-principal of a shuttered Southeast Baltimore high school stole tens of thousands of dollars from school accounts and spent a good share of that money at Maryland Live! Casino, according to state prosecutors.
The Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor announced today that a grand jury has indicted 44-year-old Leslie Lewis on three counts of theft of between $10,000 and $100,000, two counts of misappropriation by a fiduciary and one count of conspiracy to commit theft.
In the theft charges, the state alleges Lewis withdrew exactly $13,409.28 from a PNC bank account she created for the high school, which was located near the Baltimore-Dundalk border blocks from Patterson High School. The money she allegedly stole came from sales of school uniforms, school supplies, snacks, class dues and graduation fees.
Where did it all go? The prosecutor’s office says it was used for gambling. One indictment says Lewis withdrew the money in a series of 49 ATM withdrawals at Maryland Live! Casino in Arundel Mills.
But that didn’t even account for the bulk of the stolen funds in this case, prosecutors say. According to the announcement, Lewis had an accomplice, a former teacher at the school named Albert Fluker, 45. Working together, the pair ordered and stole $40,000 worth of technology from Baltimore City Public Schools through its internal purchasing system, and also stole four flatscreen TVs, prosecutors say.
Fluker faces two charges of theft of between $10,000 and $100,000.
In a statement provided to Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore City Public Schools said Lewis remains an employee, but is on leave, while Albert Fluker was a temporary employee whose time with the school system ended upon the high school’s closure in June 2016.
“While City Schools does not comment on specific personnel or ongoing criminal matters, the district takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously and investigates them thoroughly,” the statement said. “Where appropriate, matters may also be referred to law enforcement agencies.”
“There is no one more trusted and relied upon in the school system than a school principal,” said Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt in a statement. “The betrayal of that trust by Ms. Lewis is monumentally offensive and cannot be tolerated.”
Baltimore Community High School was an alternative high school reserved for students with behavioral issues and learning disabilities. The school board voted to close it in January 2016, less than a year after seven of its students pleaded guilty for their roles in a violent beating of a man in spring 2015.
Online court records show Lewis and Fluker don’t have court dates scheduled just yet.
This story has been updated with comment from Baltimore City Public Schools.
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