FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC at 410-209-4885
NOVEMBER 4, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FORMER STATE DIVISION OF PAROLE AND PROBATION EMPLOYEE
SENTENCED FOR EXTORTION
Baltimore, Maryland - Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, announced that today U.S. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Yolanda Renee Johnson, age 33, of Baltimore, Maryland, who was a Drinking Driver Monitor in the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation’s Drinking and Driving Monitoring program, to 18 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release in connection with her guilty plea to one count of extorting money under color of official right from persons under her supervision. Judge Motz further ordered Johnson to pay restitution to the 23 probationers from whom she extorted money.
The investigation began when several individuals on probation under Johnson’s supervision complained to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that they were being blackmailed by Johnson. According to a statement of facts provided to the court, Johnson admitted soliciting money from probationers in exchange for special consideration, such as agreeing to reduce their level of supervision or terminating it altogether. In her capacity as a monitor, Johnson supervised probationers convicted of driving while intoxicated and driving while under the influence of alcohol. To insure that the probationers under her supervision successfully completed the terms of their probation, Johnson’s job responsibilities included weekly or monthly in-person contact with probationers to ensure compliance with directives of the courts and licensing restrictions of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration; verification of probationers’ attendance at alcohol treatment and education programs; verification of probationers’ abstinence from driving and use of alcohol or drugs; and requiring probationers to take urinalysis or breathalyser tests. The purpose of supervision under the Drinking and Driving Monitor Program was to alleviate the threat that drunk drivers pose to public safety and to provide a viable alternative to incarceration.
According to the plea agreement, Johnson admitted to soliciting money between December 2003 and August 2004 from 23 probationers convicted of drinking and driving offenses. Approximately 20 of those probationers paid her between $100 and $325 to have their court-mandated probationary conditions reduced or curtailed. Johnson further admitted that her extortive acts greatly diminished the chances of reducing the recidivist rate among DWI offenders who were under the supervision of the Drinking and Driving Monitor Program, which consequently placed the public’s safety at risk.
United States Attorney Rod. J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Baltimore County Police Department, and the Internal Investigative Unit of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Martin Clarke, who prosecuted the case.
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