St. Mary’s Sheriff Lieutenant Falsely Claimed Overtime While Sitting at Home; Still Drawing Paycheck, No Criminal Charges Six Months Later
UPDATE: Lt. Julie Yingling is now reportedly assigned to working at the St. Mary’s County jail instead of being left at home on paid administrative leave.
By Ken Rossignol
The CHESAPEAKE TODAY
LEONARDTOWN, MD. — A St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department supervisor has been sidelined on paid leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation for approximately six months for the crime of falsifying payroll records in claiming overtime for time in which she actually was home.
The Police Officers Bill of Rights gives protection to police officers charged with a crime and makes any information about charges virtually impossible for the public to lean about. St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron refused a formal request for information on the alleged criminal acts, citing the issue being a personnel matter.
In a letter dated Feb. 5, 2014, responding to a written request, Sheriff Cameron provided the following explanation:
“While I try to provide as much information as possible when I am permitted to do so, I am unfortunately not able to discuss the particulars of Lieutenant Yingling’s employment status because it is a personnel matter and personnel matters are privileged under Maryland law. I therefore cannot provide factual information regarding any ongoing investigations involving Lieutenant Yingling or any other personnel within the Office of Sheriff for St. Mary’s County.
“With that said, the filing of criminal charges is a matter of public record and I can tell you that no criminal charges have been filed. An internal investigation remains ongoing and the appropriate course of action will be determined and taken upon the completion of that investigation.
“You also inquired whether Lieutenant Yingling was on leave without pay. As noted above, I cannot discuss the specifics of her employment status. I can tell you that under the Law
Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, a non-probationary law enforcement officer can only be placed on leave without pay if he or she has been criminally charged with a felony.
“You had also raised a question regarding the number of deputies/employees of the Office of Sheriff that have been terminated during my tenure. As noted above, because personnel matters are privileged under State law, I cannot provide you with names and the particulars which served as the basis for termination. I can tell you that there are approximately two hundred seventy-five (275) employees (deputies, correctional officers and civilian staff) within the Office of Sheriff. Since taking office, I have terminated twenty-four (24) employees for a variety of reasons.”
As of March 4, 2014, there had still not been any criminal charges brought against Lt. Julie L. Yingling for any crime, according to court records.
The actions alleged to have occurred on the part of Lt. Julie Yingling would not be the first criminal acts attributed to a St. Mary’s Sheriff’s deputy.
Lt. Eugene Pelilio was convicted of bribery for taking money from contractors doing business with the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department under the administration of Sheriff Joe Lee Somerville. Pelilio was the chief deputy at the time and in charge of procurement.
Detective Carmel R. Gant was assigned to drug enforcement and took approximately $17,000 in drug funds. She was fired and convicted of theft. None of her superiors were charged or held accountable for supervising her theft of funds during the administration of Sheriff Richard Voorhaar. She was charged with 15 counts of malfeasance in office as well as theft of over $300. She was represented by private attorney Richard Fritz who negotiated a plea deal with States Attorney Walter B. Dorsey. In that deal, Detective Gant pleaded guilty to one count and all the other charges were dropped. She was sentenced to one year in jail and never served a day of that time, as the sentence was suspended and she was given five years of unsupervised probation. Having lost her job, Gant also lost her home to foreclosure.
The acts of stealing drug funds of around $17,000, took place Sept. 10, 1995 and Feb. 12, 1996. Sheriff Voorhaar never provided an explanation of why the theft was allowed to go unnoticed by Sheriff’s Department officials. Ironically, her supervisor was later found by the State Prosecutor to have presided over the theft of $80,000 in property being held in evidence by the agency.
Being concerned about her reputation, Gant later sought in 2009 to have her criminal charges expunged from the court records.
Sgt. Lyle Long was charged with assault after he smacked a teenager when asked by the boy’s parent to talk to him about drugs. The boy was knocked unconscious and treated at the hospital. Long was represented by attorney Richard Fritz and a plea deal was negotiated with a special prosecutor in which he was sent to anger management courses and kept his job. He retired and was hired by States Attorney Richard Fritz as his driver and investigator. His charges were later expunged from the court records.
Captain Steven Doolan, Assistant Sheriff to Sheriff Richard Voorhaar, was cited and brought before a police trial board after a probe by the Maryland Special Prosecutor revealed Doolan had misappropriated illegally a truckload of about $80,000 in building materials which had been seized from a drug dealer during the course of a police raid. Doolan gave the materials to his stepson and one of his friends to use in their contracting business.
The theft of the building materials by Doolan from the police property storage was only revealed when the criminal charges against Wendell Ford, the drug dealer, were dropped by States Attorney Fritz. Fritz, when in private practice, had represented Ford but failed to have a special prosecutor handle Ford’s case and dropped the charges himself.
The State Prosecutor provided his investigation to Sheriff David Zylak and to Fritz for them to pursue criminal charges but neither ever brought any charges against Doolan or his stepson for receiving stolen goods. When a trial board was convened Doolan had already been demoted by Voorhaar and was acting as a station clerk. The trial board recommended another demotion to the rank of sergeant. Sheriff Zylak claimed he was prepared to fire Doolan who then put in for his retirement. He also never had much to worry about from Fritz prosecuting him as his wife had been Fritz’s campaign treasurer. Thus Doolan was never charged and allowed to retire, collecting a pension from the taxpayers after presiding over felony theft from the Sheriff’s department secure property held storage.
Sheriff Tim Cameron was asked in 2006, upon taking office, to provide a copy of the State Prosecutor’s investigation for inspection and he promised that it would be forthcoming. Repeated requests have resulted in answers ranging from the report being lost, missing and a new one requested from the State Prosecutor to the most recent answer being that the investigation report was ‘in the mail’. If and when the report is provided by Sheriff Cameron, the contents will be published.
As the investigation may name other Sheriff’s deputies who were involved in stealing property from the property room and may still be employed at the Sheriff’s Department, the report might be of interest to members of the public.
One source in this investigation stated that the building materials had been incorporated into additions, decks and garages of various Sheriff’s deputies and the stickers placed on materials noting that the building materials had been seized as evidence in a case were still applied to the materials such as lumber and windows.
As Sheriff Cameron had nothing to do with the thefts or any cover-up in the initial investigation, it appears now that his reluctance to provide the report is motivated by his desire to conceal from the public any participation by other deputies who still work at the agency.
As Sheriff Cameron has stated he has terminated twenty-four members of the agency for various reasons, it is clear that one of those was Deputy David Goff who assaulted a man who had been riding an ATV vehicle along Rt. 235 in St. James. Deputy Goff was found to be intoxicated and was arrested, charged and jailed. He was terminated not long afterwards.
Deputy Randall J. Wood was terminated after it was revealed in the course of a search warrant on a suspect involved in a shooting that he had loaned his firearms to a convicted felon.
Sheriff Cameron points out that the agency must hire from the general public and therefore will have its share of people who will cross over the line, therefore, he has to take action to terminate those individuals. The Police Officers Bill of Rights was intended to protect police officers from the vagaries of politics.
The recent indictment and conviction of nearly a dozen prison guards in Baltimore who were conducting a drug ring in coordination with the Black Guerrilla Family an inmate gang, with correctional officers having sex with inmates and bringing drugs into the prison was lengthened by the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights. Outright terminations of those involved resulted in the criminal officers continuing to receive paychecks for months after their actions were discovered.
In the case of Lt. Julie L. Yingling, whose husband is also employed by the Sheriff’s Department as a supervisor, her pay in the range of ninety thousand dollars a year has continued along with her benefits. Will she have to pay back her pay while she has been sitting at home along with the overtime that she allegedly stole in the first place? That is a question that anyone can ask Sheriff Cameron and at the same time, ask “Where is the Loot?” in regards to Captain Crook Doolan and the stolen lumber.
In the meantime, only The Shadow knows for sure.