Ex-school aide sentenced in theft


October 12, 2007|By MATTHEW DOLAN

A federal judge in Baltimore sentenced a former Aberdeen school administrative aide yesterday to five months of home detention for helping to steal more than $84,000 in funds allocated to pay for educational programs.

U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Wanda O. Quarles, 38, of Upper Marlboro, a former administrative aide at the Freestate ChalleNGe Academy, to three years of probation for theft from programs receiving federal funds. The first five months of the probation time will be served on home detention.

The judge also instructed Quarles to pay restitution of $34,750.07 to the Maryland Military Department.

According to the plea agreement, Quarles was employed at Freestate ChalleNGe Academy from 2000 through 2004. The academy inside Aberdeen Proving Ground teaches at-risk adolescents how to develop self-discipline and leadership skills.

When a former academy drill instructor moved to South Carolina in 2000, Quarles kept the instructor, then-Master Sgt. Anthony Smith, on the payroll through February 2004. Quarles then deposited the checks either into the former drill instructor's bank account or into her own bank account. The total loss through 100 bogus paychecks amounted to $86,703.32, according to prosecutors.

The Maryland U.S. attorney's office said the case against Smith, who was also charged federally, is pending.

Matthew Dolan

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