Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon has been convicted of a single count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary. It was one of the original 12 counts of corruption in an indictment (later reduced at trial, including four counts of perjury, two counts of misconduct, three counts of theft and three counts of fraudulent misappropriations. The allegations stemmed from the use of gift cards from two real estate developers — who gave the cards to help needy families and instead discovered that they were being used allegedly by Dixon to buy things like a PlayStation2, CDs and DVDs.
Many of the gift cards came from developer Ron Lipscomb as well as purchased with cash by the city. The indictment alleges that on Dec. 16, 2004, 15 $50 Best Buy gift cards were purchased with cash by the city. Two were used on Dec. 11, 2005, at the Best Buy store downtown by Dixon to purchase $237 worth of merchandise, including a PlayStation2, CDs and DVDs.
Notably, Dixon was discovered because she paid the difference for these items with her own credit card. She is accused of using the gifts at Old Navy, Circuit City, Toys “R” Us and a Giant food store for items ranging from an Xbox to a Sony PlayStation to a digital camcorder to an iPod and clothes.
When police raided her home, they reportedly found at least five Toys “R” Us gift cards that were donated to the city for needy families. That will make for a bit of a problem in front of a jury.
She was also accused of accepting gifts from Lipscomb without disclosing them including a $2,000 gift certificate at a local fur store, thousands of dollars in travel and lodging expenses in New York and Chicago and several thousand dollars for a shopping spree in Chicago at such stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Giorgio and Coach. Lipscomb was trying to get tax credits from the city. Both he and Councilwoman Helen Holton were indicted Wednesday on charges of bribery last week.
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The jury convicted Mayor Sheila Dixon on one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary.
The jury acquitted Dixon of the felony theft charges.
The jury couldn’t reach an unanimous decision on count six (another count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary) and the judge declared a mistrial on that count.
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