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June 4, 2024: Anne Arundel County Register of Wills Pleads Guilty to Misconduct in Office

Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard, III, announced today that Erica Griswold, Register of Wills for Anne Arundel County, pleaded guilty to Misconduct in Office.

The Honorable Stacy W. McCormack accepted Griswold’s guilty plea in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. Sentencing has been set for July 18, 2024, at 1:30pm.

According to the statement of facts admitted into the record in support of the plea, Griswold has served as the duly elected Register of Wills for Anne Arundel County, Maryland since December 2022. Griswold’s annual salary is approximately $146,117.91.

As part of the stipulated facts within her plea agreement, Griswold admitted that on or about June 16, 2023, a cashier’s check for $6,645.00 was received by the Office of the Register of Wills in Anne Arundel County. The check was made payable to Ms. Griswold for the purpose of satisfying an invoice received from the Office for payment of non-probate inheritance tax. Griswold has admitted that she falsely advised the mail processor that she had been expecting this check (implying that the check was intended for Griswold in her personal capacity), and based on Griswold’s false representation, the employee allowed Griswold to keep possession of the check. Griswold did not know the payor of the check, and she knew the check was not intended for her personal use.

Griswold admitted that computer system searches to identify the name of a person who has an interest in an estate and identify the estate with which they are associated and/or the invoice in which a check was intended to satisfy were not conducted in this case because of Griswold’s false representation that she had been expecting this check for herself personally.

On or about June 22, 2023, Griswold cashed the $6,645.00 check at the Chase Bank located on Forest Drive in Annapolis, Maryland, and kept the cash for her personal use. Subsequently, the payor of the check contacted the Register of Wills Office to determine why he was still receiving invoices from the Office for $6,645.00 due in inheritance tax, that he believed he had already paid.

Griswold ultimately repaid the money to the Office of the Register of Wills on February 23, 2024, almost seven months after she was made aware that the payor had contacted the Office because he continued to receive invoices, and nearly a month after an Anne Arundel County Grand Jury returned an Indictment against her.

“Government officials are expected to be good stewards of the public funds entrusted to them,” said State Prosecutor Howard. “Our agency strives to hold individuals in positions of public trust accountable if they violate that trust for personal gain.”

A copy of the Statement of Facts accompanying the plea can be found HERE.