|Former Crofton Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Theft
Annapolis, Md. – Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced today that Berney Williams, a former Crofton Police Department officer, entered an Alford plea to one count of misdemeanor theft and was sentenced to one year of supervised probation and ordered to pay $3830 in restitution to the Crofton Civic Association for submitting false timesheets and receiving pay for hours and days that he didn’t work. The former police officer agreed to resign immediately from the Crofton Police Department following his guilty plea.
“The defendant, as a law enforcement officer, used his trusted position to steal from the same community he took an oath to protect and serve,” said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “This sentence holds him accountable for actions as he’s been ordered to repay the community for his unlawful actions.”
Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Palisano prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.
On November 3, 2020, Crofton Police Department Chief Earl Fox requested that the Anne Arundel County Police Department conduct an investigation into unlawful actions of one of Crofton Police Department’s sworn officers who was suspected of submitting false attendance sheets and paid for hours he didn’t work from January 2020 to November 2020.
After initially discovering discrepancies between the hours the defendant claimed to have worked and when he actually worked, the Crofton Police Department began to investigate this matter further. They searched the department’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) records, which keeps a record of all the dates and times officers use a police radio to log on at the start of their shift and log off at the end of their shift. These entries are required of all Crofton police officers while they are working. After searching the CAD records of when the defendant was supposed to be working, they discovered there were several days and hours he claimed to have worked but there were either no CAD records indicating he actually did work or the CAD records showed he did not work the entire amount of time he claimed on his timesheets.
The defendant was also paid for working days and hours during the specified time period and wasn’t authorized to be off. The Crofton Police Department also viewed video surveillance from Crofton Town Hall where all officers are to report for their shifts and the video confirmed that the defendant did not show up to work on the days they checked where there were no CAD records of him working, yet he still turned in a signed payroll timesheet indicating his attendance. For the discrepancies in these days and hours, some of them Williams was paid regular time and some of the dates and times he was paid overtime according to his records. Crofton Police also discovered that Williams had turned in overtime slips with his signature for some of the hours he did not work.
On November 3, 2020, Chief Fox stated that due to the preliminary findings the defendant was suspended pending an investigation.
After concluding the investigation, the Anne Arundel County police officer found that the former corporal participated in a pattern of falsifying timesheets and overtime slips for hours and whole days where he did not work and misappropriated funds.
The Honorable Glenn Klavans presided over the case.