Ex-legislator faces charges Jury indicts Woods in cellular phone fraud.

March 07, 1991|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Evening Sun Staff

Sylvania Woods Jr., former chairman of the Prince George's County House delegation to the General Assembly, today was indicted on three charges that he misused his public office to operate a fraudulent sales scheme involving cellular telephones.

Woods, 37, son of a Prince George's County District Court judge, was indicted by an Anne Arundel County grand jury after a nine-month investigation by the state special prosecutor's office.

Specifically, Woods, of Mitchellville, faces two felony theft counts and one count of misconduct in office.

On Jan. 30, Woods resigned his seat in the House, where he served 12 years. At the time, he said the thrill of being in the legislature had disappeared and he wanted to get married and start a family.

However, several legislative leaders doubted his story and said they believed Woods stepped down because of the investigation.

James Cabezas, chief investigator for the special prosecutor's office, said the first felony charge addresses sales commissions Woods allegedly received on transactions that never occurred.

Woods allegedly received commissions based on applications he submitted to such firms as Cellular One, GTE Mobile Communications Inc. and Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems Inc. The people whose names were submitted had no intention of purchasing or using the equipment, it was alleged.

Cabezas would not comment on reports in The Sun that said Woods submitted the names of delegates and state senators.

In the second count, Woods is charged with "engaging in a common scheme" to steal $12,000 from his campaign funds. The funds were registered under the name "Committee to Re-Elect Sylvania Woods Jr."

Finally, Woods is charged in the third count with misconduct in office.

The indictment says he used the equipment, supplies, administrative personnel and the title of his elected office to facilitate a "common scheme to steal over $46,000 worth of commissions he received for the sale of cellular phone service and equipment from Cellular One, GTE Mobile Communications Inc. and Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems Inc."

Cabezas said Woods will not be taken into custody but has agreed to make himself available to the State Police for initial processing through the criminal justice system.

Woods is scheduled for arraignment March 25 in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, since the violations are alleged to have taken place in and around Annapolis.

Woods could not be reached today for comment.

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