Jeffrey Levitt moved to pre-release in first step toward parole in 1993 Ex-thrift official infraction-free MARYLAND/REGION

December 25, 1992|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,Staff Writer

Jeffrey A. Levitt, the savings and loan swindler sentenced t 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to stealing $14.6 million from his own thrift, took the first step toward work release yesterday in anticipation of his parole next year.

Levitt, the 50-year-old former president of the now-defunct Old Court Savings and Loan, was transferred from the minimum-security Baltimore City Correctional Center across Greenmount Avenue to the Baltimore City Pre-release Unit, a correction official confirmed.

Levitt will reside at the pre-release unit, which prepares inmates to return to their communities, for at least the next month while beginning a work-release program, said Cpl. J. Scott McCauley, spokesman for the Division of Correction.

After 30 days, Correction Commissioner Richard A. Lanham Sr. will consider Levitt for the home-detention program in which prison officials keep track of an inmate's whereabouts with electronic monitoring equipment, Corporal McCauley said.

"This is nothing out of the ordinary," said Corporal McCauley. "This is just the natural progression for his parole."

Corporal McCauley said correction officials had not yet determined where Levitt would be working.

Levitt, who is scheduled to be paroled next November after serving 7 1/2 years of his 30-year sentence, was moved about noon to the pre-release unit, where he will undergo orientation and classification in the next week, while working temporarily within the institution performing such duties as cleaning halls, Corporal McCauley said.

After the first of the year, he will be assigned to a work-release job. Under the prison system's work-release program, one-third of his salary will be paid to the Division of Correction for room and board at the pre-release unit, he said.

The Maryland Parole Commission approved the early prison release of Levitt Nov. 18 on a unanimous vote, with one abstention.

Levitt will not be released until November 1993, after he has served more than 25 percent of his sentence of 30 years, three months and 28 days. So far, he has served nearly seven years -- about 22 percent -- of his 1986 sentence.

Under the terms of his parole, Levitt will be required to perform 2,000 hours of community service and pay all court-ordered restitution.

Levitt and his late wife came to personify the greed of the 1980s because of their ostentatious lifestyle, much of which was paid for with money stolen from Old Court. That lifestyle included owning homes in Florida and Maryland and 18 cars. Their general accumulation of material wealth included a golf cart with a mock-Rolls Royce front end and an $18,000 back yard putting green. Karol Levitt died in 1989.

After a run on Old Court started the collapse of the state's savings and loan industry in May 1985, the Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund Corp., a quasi-public state agency, became the receiver of Old Court and other thrifts.

MDIF was charged with selling the thrifts' assets and distributing the proceeds to creditors, including depositors, many of whom waited years to recoup their money.

Levitt has been infraction-free during his six years and 11 months at a variety of state prisons, correction officials have said.

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