Civic News

Former city tech contractor pleads guilty to theft charge

The plea deal in connection with the 2014 case also included a restitution payment, according to the city inspector general's office.

Baltimore City Circuit Court, September 2012. (Photo by Flickr user David Kirsch, used under a Creative Commons license)

A former city technology contractor reached a plea deal in connection with the 2014 investigation of theft allegations in the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology.
As part of the deal, Investment Management Enterprise (IME) pleaded guilty in Baltimore City Circuit Court to a charge of theft of more than $100,000.
According to the city Inspector General’s office, the company billed the city for work that it did not perform by inflating the number of hours worked. An investigation found the false invoices were submitted between January 2013-January 2014.
Along with the plea deal, IME paid a restitution check of $165,520 to the city. IME CEO Twyla Garrett was also charged as part of the initial indictment in the case, but that charge was dropped as part of the plea deal.
The inspector general’s office said that city personnel did not face criminal charges in connection with the investigation. The failure to catch the over-billing was blamed on “inadequate contract management and oversight,” the office stated.
“This case reflects the City’s resolve to identify and prosecute corrupt vendor practices,” said City Inspector General Robert H. Pearre, Jr. “Cases involving contract administration will continue to be a high priority for the OIG.”
Former MOIT chief Chris Tonjes resigned in June 2014, amid the investigation. He denied wrongdoing. Jerome Mullen was named city CTO following the resignation.
The theft investigation wasn’t the first time MOIT has been under scrutiny. Tonjes was appointed in 2012 after Rico Singleton resigned following an investigation that found past abuses of power when he worked in New York state government.

Companies: Mayor’s Office of Information Technology
People: Chris Tonjes
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