Transgendered woman tried to fake death

Maryland

January 18, 2007|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,sun reporter

A 41-year-old transgendered Baltimore woman who was at the center of a landmark Supreme Court case more than a decade ago has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for trying to falsify a death certificate to avoid being prosecuted for identity theft.

Dee Deirdre Farmer, a convicted thief who also goes by the names Douglas C. Farmer and Larry G. Prescott, pleaded guilty last month to obstruction of justice and misuse of a death certificate. She had been released from prison in February 2005 on a Baltimore County case by a judge who was sympathetic to the prisoner's failing health.

But since being sent home with what medical evidence suggested was the final stages of AIDS, Farmer has accumulated a new string of criminal charges, mostly involving identity theft.

In the case for which she was sentenced Tuesday in Baltimore Circuit Court, Farmer had presented the state division of vital records with a forged court order to change the death certificate of a man named Charles Smith, who died June 6, 2006, to reflect that Dee Farmer had died on that day instead, according to court records.

But the signature on the order was not the name of a real judge. Police suspected that Farmer intended to use the altered certificate to convince federal prosecutors in Maryland that she had died, hoping they would dismiss an indictment that charged her with mail fraud and identity theft.

Farmer succeeded in getting unrelated criminal charges in Virginia dismissed on the basis of her supposed death by using a forged death certificate, court records show.

Farmer also admitted last month in the Baltimore case to forging an affidavit in the name of a fictitious Baltimore County police officer, claiming that crimes committed in the name of Farmer were committed by a person named Larry Prescott, and that Prescott had stolen Farmer's identity. In reality, Farmer stole the identity of Prescott, a correctional officer at the city detention center, 20 years ago when Farmer was incarcerated on Prescott's tier, according to the attorney general's office.

Farmer filed that fraudulent affidavit in an unrelated city case, presumably in an attempt to have those charges dismissed as well.

Born male, Farmer underwent a sex-change operation to become female and legally changed her Maryland birth certificate a few years ago to reflect that she is a woman, according to court documents.

Farmer sued federal prison officials in the 1980s after being placed, while undergoing estrogen therapy and wearing women's clothes, in the general population of a male prison, where she was attacked and raped. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court and changed the standard of liability for prisons where inmates assault each other.

jennifer.mcmenamin @baltsun.com

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