Woman who worked with retarded indicted She is charged with theft from clients in Howard

December 20, 1997|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

A former employee of a Howard County organization that helps mentally retarded people has been indicted on charges she stole money from four people under her care, the state attorney general's office reported yesterday.

Lisa Mae Burge, 29, of Ellicott City, a former program coordinator at the Howard County Association for Retarded Citizens, was indicted Thursday on four counts of felony theft.

This is the second time this year a person caring for ARC clients has faced criminal charges.

The attorney general's office said Burge is accused of stealing money from the victims' bank accounts. The alleged thefts are believed to have occurred between August 1996 and February. No further details were provided.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Burge could not be reached for comment.

Carol Beatty, ARC's executive director, said program coordinators at the nonprofit organization work as case managers. Burge left the agency in February. ARC has three program coordinators.

In October, a Silver Spring woman pleaded guilty to stealing about $700 from three severely retarded senior citizens under her care and abandoning them to buy crack cocaine in April. All three needed around-the-clock attention. One was blind, another used a wheelchair, the third needed oxygen 24 hours a day.

Katherine Marie Matthews, 37, served one day in jail, receiving suspended sentences for theft and reckless endangerment. Matthews, who went looking for crack in an ARC car and was involved in an accident that did more than $700 damage to the car, was ordered to pay ARC $2,000 in restitution.

L Yesterday, Beatty said she was concerned about the problems.

"We have taken strong measures to prevent this happening," she said. She would not describe those measures.

Howard County's ARC provides support to more than 1,000 people with developmental disabilities and their families. The organization helps to house 93 disabled people.

Pub Date: 12/20/97

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