Detective accused of embezzling $10,000

March 25, 2010|By Tricia Bishop | tricia.bishop@baltsun.com

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges this week against Baltimore police Detective Mark J. Lunsford, alleging he embezzled $10,000 in confidential-informant funds while assigned to a federal drug task force, lied to colleagues and stole a broken diamond watch from a target's home during a drug raid.

"The charges are not unexpected, and Mr. Lunsford is extremely regretful that he finds himself in this position," defense attorney Paul M. Polansky said Wednesday.

No court date has been set on the charges, which were filed Tuesday through a "criminal information" by prosecutors rather than a grand jury indictment.

A complaint containing similar allegations was first filed in September, and Lunsford, a six-year department veteran, was suspended without pay shortly thereafter, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

Lunsford, 29, was assigned to a Drug Enforcement Administration task force, which he leveraged as a way to steal clothes and jewelry from crime scenes and demand kickback payments from sources, according to an affidavit filed in support of the September complaint. The allegations were made by a confidential informant cooperating with federal agents.

Lunsford also was recorded telling the informant how to operate the scheme, according to the affidavit, and admitting to taking three video games from a suspect's home.

"I ain't going into a [expletive] house if I ain't getting something out of [it]," Lunsford allegedly said.

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