City/County Digest


October 24, 2003|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

In Baltimore City

Building inspector pleads guilty to accepting bribe

A Baltimore building inspector pleaded guilty yesterday in City Circuit court to bribery charges for accepting $2,500 to approve the repair of a house roof.

Phillip Freeland, 34, of the 1100 block of Calhoun St. was charged in July, moments after he pocketed the cash while on duty in a house in the Brooklyn neighborhood. He worked for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

Freeland admitted to authorities that he took the money, according to court records. His sentencing is set Feb. 5.

Ex-owner of tax firm guilty of conspiracy to defraud

The operator of a now-closed Towson tax filing business admitted in U.S. District Court in Baltimore yesterday that she had wrongly collected more than $78,000 in tax refunds by inventing itemized deductions for clients to claim on their federal tax forms.

Margaret E. Benbow, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. Benbow, of Idabell, Okla., but previously of Timonium, also acknowledged that she had falsely portrayed herself as a former Internal Revenue Service employee when she was actually retired as an egg inspector with the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

Benbow's sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9. Her son and business partner, William A. Benbow Jr., was sentenced last year to five years in prison for a federal witness-tampering conviction related to the IRS investigation of the family business, MZ Biddy Consulting.

Reception to be held today for opening of desert exhibit

The Lutheran Center in Federal Hill will hold a reception today for the opening of its new exhibit, Lost and Found, Remnants of the Desert Passage.

Lost and Found is a traveling exhibit supported by Humane Borders Inc., an organization that places water stations in the remote deserts of Arizona hoping to lower the death toll among illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico.

The exhibit, including a water station, photographs and collections of objects left in the desert by migrants, will be on display in the lobby of the center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 12. The opening reception will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the center, 700 Light St., with a presentation about the work of Humane Borders at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

In Baltimore County

Man gets 20-year sentence for trying to arrange killing

TOWSON -- A Windsor Mill man was sentenced to 20 years in prison yesterday for trying to arrange his ex-girlfriend's death.

Garvey A. Gangadeen, 19, was sentenced by Baltimore County Circuit Judge John G. Turnbull II. According to court documents, police had listened to telephone conversations this year during which they said Gangadeen, of the 2700 block of Claybrook Drive, asked an acquaintance to help kill his 22-year-old ex-girlfriend. In one conversation, Gangadeen arranged a time to kidnap the woman and shoot her. He said he wanted to kill her because she was pursuing kidnapping charges against him. The woman was unharmed.

Police say Gangadeen abducted his ex-girlfriend at knifepoint in September last year. They said he kidnapped her because he was angry that she had told police that he had been stalking her.

Essex man fined $1,000 for illegally filling wetlands

TOWSON -- An Essex man has been fined $1,000 for illegally filling state wetlands, state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. announced this week.

According to testimony, Scott Howard O'Day, 47, of the 1300 block of Wildwood Beach Road obtained permits from the state and Baltimore County to replace a bulkhead on his neighbor's property but replaced the bulkhead on his own property at the same time without seeking the required permits. He was given the maximum penalty under law.

O'Day was sentenced Wednesday by District Judge G. Darrell Russell.

Children's safety program scheduled at fire museum

LUTHERVILLE -- The Fire Museum of Maryland will play host to the Great Safety Adventure from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow. The event is free and open to the public.

The adventure is contained in two tractor-trailers which are transformed into 1,200 square feet of interactive space to teach children about home safety. Animated videos, special effects and tour guides help children identify hazards. Tours run every 15 minutes and last 35 to 40 minutes.

The museum is at 1301 York Road.

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