February 2, 2018: Former Baltimore City School Principal Incarcerated and Ordered to Pay Restitution of $58,689.34 for Thefts from School System
For Immediate Release
Former Baltimore City School Principal Incarcerated and Ordered to Pay Restitution of $58,689.34 for Thefts from School System
State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt announced today that Leslie N. Lewis, former Principal of Baltimore Community High School, was sentenced in connection with two schemes to steal money and property from the Baltimore City Public School System. This matter was originally referred to the State Prosecutor’s Office by the Baltimore City Public School System’s Office of Legal Counsel.
On December 5, 2017, Lewis pleaded guilty to two counts of theft between $10,000 and $100,000. From a Statement of Facts in support of the guilty plea, the court learned that in one scheme Lewis, while employed as Principal of Baltimore Community High School, stole approximately $13,409.28 from a PNC Bank account which she set up on behalf of Baltimore Community High School. These funds were the proceeds from the sale of school uniforms, school supplies, snacks, class dues payments, and graduation fees. Lewis used an ATM/ Debit card associated with this PNC account to make ATM withdrawals and point-of-sale purchases at local-area casinos. In the second scheme, the court was informed that Lewis used deceptive purchase orders to steal over $45,000.00 worth of technology from Baltimore City Public Schools through their internal purchasing system. The full Statement of Facts can be found on the State Prosecutor’s website (http://osp.maryland.gov).
On February 2, 2018, the Honorable Charles J. Peters of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City sentenced Lewis to a period of incarceration of five (5) years, with all but ninety (90) days suspended for her role in the first theft scheme. Lewis was also sentenced to a period of incarceration of five (5) years, with all but ninety (90) days suspended for her role in the second theft scheme. Both sentences will be served concurrent to one another. Lewis was also ordered to serve a five (5) year period of supervised probation and was ordered to pay restitution to the Baltimore City Board of Education in the amount of $58,689.34. State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt stated: “We look to and entrust our high school principals with having the best interests of our children at heart. Betrayal of that trust is particularly egregious. No parent should worry that their children’s uniform money or prom dues are being spent by their principal at the local casino, nor should taxpayers’ need be concerned that a school principal is spending public school funds to buy expensive technology for herself and her friends.”
Lewis is the third Baltimore City Public School Principal charged and convicted by the Office of the State Prosecutor of stealing from student activity fund accounts since 2013. In October of 2015, Alisha Trusty, former principal of Western High School, pleaded guilty to stealing approximately $54,000 from the school’s student activity fund. In March of 2013, William Howard, II, former principal of Coppin Academy, pleaded guilty to stealing over $10,000 from that school’s student activity fund account.