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Former Baltimore County official charged with theft, embezzlement of campaign funds

Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner
A sign reading “Baltimore County Maryland” hangs on the wall inside the historic Baltimore County Courthouse in Towson, the center of county government.

Former Baltimore County economic development official and longtime Democratic politico Chris McCollum has been charged with theft and embezzlement, specifically that he pocketed money from a county councilwoman’s campaign and a slate fund that boosted Baltimore-area Democrats’ campaign coffers since 2015.

Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton Howard III announced Thursday McCollum is charged with multiple counts of felony theft scheme, embezzlement and perjury.

For five years McCollum stole the money and used it for things like paying off his credit card and for a personal trip to Puerto Rico, according to the state prosecutor. In a prepared statement, former Baltimore County Councilwoman Bevins said she was shocked and saddened by the embezzlement.

“This is a complete betrayal of trust placed in him by me and by my donors. I have been cooperating with the office of the state prosecutor throughout the entire investigation," Bevins told WYPR.

McCollum is accused of depositing funds from two campaign accounts, for which he served as treasurer, into his personal bank account and using campaign funds to pay off his personal credit card bill and other expenses, according to charging documents.

The state prosecutor also alleges McCollum ripped off more than $31,000 dollars from another campaign committee. He was also treasurer of the Baltimore County Victory Slate, which supports Democratic candidates.

A couple of years ago McCollum was the target of an investigation by the county inspector general over purchases he made when he was the director of the county agricultural center.

"These charges are serious and deeply concerning and we support every effort to ensure justice is served," Erica Palmisano, press secretary for Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski told WYPR.

This story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: Former Baltimore County official Chris McCollum charged with theft, embezzlement of campaign funds

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