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June 20, 2024: Prince George’s County Councilman Charged with Multiple Counts of Felony Theft Scheme, Embezzlement, and Perjury

Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard, III, announced today that a criminal information has been filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, Maryland, charging Jamel R. Franklin, a former Prince George’s County Councilman, with multiple counts of felony theft scheme, embezzlement, and perjury.

According to the charges filed today, Mr. Franklin established his campaign committee “Friends of Mel Franklin” in 2009 to raise funds for his election to the Prince George’s County Council. Franklin served as the Councilperson representing District 9 from 2010 to 2018 and was the At-Large Councilperson representing all of Prince George’s County from 2018 through June 2024. Franklin has been listed as the Chairperson of the “Friends of Mel Franklin” campaign committee since the Committee began in 2009.

The charges allege that from 2020 through at least October 2023, Franklin embezzled $124,450.10 from the Friends of Mel Franklin campaign account by electronically transferring funds or writing checks to his personal bank account. According to the charges, Franklin used the funds from the campaign account to pay for, among other things, personal loans and credit card debt, his personal rent, personal subscriptions, and cosmetic procedures for him and a close friend.

The charges also allege that from 2021 through and including December 18, 2023, Franklin engaged in a similar scheme and embezzled $8,718.57 from the campaign account directly to third parties to pay for Franklin’s personal expenses. Franklin is alleged to have transferred money from the campaign account to a close friend, used the debit card associated with the campaign account to fund personal hotel-stays and cosmetic procedures for a close friend, and made a deposit from the campaign account for an international trip in 2024. Franklin also allegedly paid off his personal credit card and paid for the upkeep of his personal vehicle using funds from the campaign account.

According to the criminal information, Franklin did not report the expenses described above on the required campaign finance reports. The charges allege that instead, Franklin falsified the information on the reports filed with the State Board of Elections, including information related to loans and loan repayments, and bank account balances.

“Our Office strives to hold individuals in positions of public trust accountable if they violate that trust and exploit the Maryland electoral process for personal financial gain,” said State Prosecutor Howard.

All individuals who are charged with a criminal offense are presumed to be innocent.

A copy of the charging document can be found HERE.