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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Embezzling from Non-Profit Organizations

Victim Non-Profits Provided Services to the Homeless, Disadvantaged Children, and a Baltimore Community

Baltimore, Maryland - Sharon Harrison, age 48, of Rosedale, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $1.3 million from four non-profit organizations for which she worked and which received federal funding.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Special Agent in Charge Cary A. Rubenstein of the Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General; and Robert H. Pearre, Jr., Inspector General, City of Baltimore Office of Inspector General.

“Non-profit organizations that receive federal funds have a legal duty to use them for the intended purpose,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein.  “Sharon Harrison helped herself to federal funds intended to provide services for disadvantaged children and homeless families in Baltimore.”

According to her plea agreement Sharon Harrison was a bookkeeper or fiscal manager for the following non-profit groups, all of which received federal funds to assist in their mission:

Health, Education, Advocacy, Life Inc. (HEAL) from 2005 to March 2011;
Between Friends, Inc. from September 2008 to November 2011;
Jobs, Housing & Recovery, Inc. (JHR) from May 20, 2013 to February 12, 2014;
and Reservoir Hill Improvement Council (RHIC) from December 2012 to February 2014.

HEAL and JHR provided services for the homeless in Baltimore City.  Between Friends assisted disadvantaged children to find foster homes and provided services to the children and their foster families.  RHIC assessed community needs, developed and implemented solutions on issues common to the Reservoir Hill Community in Baltimore.

Over the course of her employment at HEAL, RHIC, JHR and Between Friends, Harrison embezzled over $1.3 million. Specifically, Harrison admitted that she embezzled: $226,888.34 from HEAL; $784,781.17 from Between Friends; $161,750.14 from JHR; and $133,178.04 from RHIC.  As part of her plea agreement, Sharon Harrison agreed to the entry of a restitution order for the full amount of the victim’s losses, $1,306,797.70.

Sharon Harrison faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for federal program theft.  U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz has scheduled sentencing for June 30, 2015, at 11:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI, HUD-OIG and Baltimore Office of Inspector General, for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Leo J. Wise, who is prosecuting the case.

Updated May 1, 2015