Maryland

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A substitute teacher was removed from a Halethorpe Elementary School classroom after the school district said the teacher allegedly “exhibited unprofessional behavior.”

“Our administration immediately investigated this report and took action to remove the substitute teacher from the classroom,” said Baltimore County Public Schools’ officials in a statement.

“We want parents to be reassured that their students’ safety is our greatest interest,” the district said. “We are proud of the students who brought this situation to our attention. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the school.”

Schools spokesman Brandon Oland said despite reports, they do not believe there was any sexual abuse.

It was students who reported concerns about the teacher.

Baltimore, Maryland – Chad Arrington, a/k/a “Chad Focus,” age 32, of Randallstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to a federal wire fraud conspiracy in connection with a scheme to use a company credit card to make over $4.1 million in unauthorized purchases.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

According to his plea agreement, Arrington was employed by Company 1 as a Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) Specialist from approximately 2011 to August 2018. As an SEO Specialist, Arrington was responsible for promoting and marketing Company 1’s products and services online. Company 1 assigned Arrington an American Express company credit card (the “credit card”) after Arrington signed an agreement in which he agreed to use the credit card only for business expenses related to Company 1.

Arrington admitted that from at least January 2015 through August 2018, Arrington and four co-conspirators used the credit card for fraudulent purchases, including to promote his hip-hop artist alter-ego, Chad Focus and Focus Music Entertainment and to make unauthorized purchases that benefitted them each personally. The co-conspirators were from Owings Mills, Maryland; York, Pennsylvania; Alexandria, Virginia; and Sarasota, Florida, respectively. According to the plea agreement, Arrington used the credit card to make over $1.5 million in unauthorized purchases from entities and accounts controlled by Co-Conspirator 2 and Co-Conspirator 3, and then Co-Conspirator 2 and Co-Conspirator 3, in turn, kicked back hundreds of thousands of dollars to Arrington by funneling cash payments to Arrington and to accounts controlled by Arrington.

For example, Arrington admitted that he used the credit card to purchase sound equipment, studio kits, instruments, and music technology, which he then used to create an artist alter-ego “Chad Focus,” and produce a number of hip-hop songs through the company he formed, Focus Music Entertainment LLC. Arrington then used the credit card to make additional unauthorized purchases: from online streaming platforms that offered services for artists to pay to have the platforms artificially increase Arrington’s song play counts on other music platforms; to purchase “likes,” “followers,” “tags,” and “views” across social media and viewing platforms; to purchase services from a company that promoted mixtape videos and singles, his image, and music; and to make unauthorized payments to multiple billboard companies to display images of Arrington and his website throughout the United States and to promote Chad Focus and Focus Music Entertainment LLC. From January 2015 through August 2018, Arrington charged the credit card over $300,000 for unauthorized international and national travel expenses, hotels, airfares, night life and other miscellaneous expenses for himself and for Co-Conspirators 1 and 2. In addition, Arrington made over $100,000 in unauthorized purchases of clothing and accessories, including hats that displayed his artist name “Focus,” and other apparel, which he provided to his associates free of charge. Arrington also admitted that he utilized the credit card to make more than $275,000 in purchases related to a bike-sharing business, including electric bikes, hover boards, and scooters. Arrington also admitted that he used the credit card for concert tickets, various unauthorized international and national travel expenses, including hotels, airfare, restaurant bills, luxury vehicle rentals, and nightlife expenses, and for travel expenses and airline tickets for the benefit of Co-Conspirators 1 and 2.

In order to conceal the scheme, Arrington asked Co-Conspirator 1 and Co-Conspirator 4 to use computer software to make false entries on the credit card billing statements in order to conceal the recipient of the payments from Arrington’s supervisor and Company 1. In addition, Arrington forged the signature of his supervisor on his credit card billing statements to make it appear as though he had received approval for certain purchases when, in fact, he had not. Arrington then sent those false payment authorizations to other employees who relied on the authorizations to ultimately pay off the outstanding balance of the credit card.

As detailed in his plea agreement, Arrington will be required to pay restitution in the full amount of the victim’s losses, $4,142,435.31.

Arrington faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett has scheduled sentencing for May 14, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek E. Hines and Mary W. Setzer, who are prosecuting the case.

Baltimore County Police Department released a body-worn camera video of incident involving January 10 arrest of two women following a disorderly call for service in Pikesville. Body camera footage from both responding officers shows how the situation escalated from a disturbance with a knife call to the deployment of pepper spray, a tazer and the arrest of a 76-year-old woman.

A Baltimore County police officer has been charged with sexually assaulting at least three women, who described a man who took advantage of social situations and his familiarity with his victims, according to the statement of charges.

Baltimore County Police announced Sunday that the officer, Anthony Michael Westerman, was arrested and charged with multiple counts of felony rape and misdemeanor assault.

Westerman, who had been assigned to the department’s Essex precinct, was arrested Saturday, according to online court records. He is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center and was denied bail Monday.

Court charging documents detail Westerman’s alleged predatory tactics, including lying about promising to get an intoxicated woman back to her friend’s home safely and, in another situation, taking a woman away from a crowd to a secluded area.

One victim said she was scared to come forward because Westerman was a police officer, charging documents show. The records do not identify the women and The Baltimore Sun typically does not identify victims who allege sexual assault.
The victim said she did not immediately report the rape because Westerman is a police officer.

Two weeks later, Westerman was at a birthday party with another 22-year-old woman when he allegedly pulled her aside to a secluded area.

The victim said she thought Westerman was going to share with her how he was planning to propose to his girlfriend. Instead, the officer allegedly grabbed and tried to kiss the woman twice, before she left the event with a family member.

Westerman was booked into the Baltimore County Detention Center on two counts of second-degree rape and three counts of second-degree assault.

The 25-year-old officer appeared before a judge on Monday and was denied bond. He is due back in court on January 3, 2020, for a preliminary hearing.

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A suburban Baltimore substitute teacher has been charged after she allegedly had sexual encounters with a high school student and gave him alcohol.

Alexis Mercedes Boberg, 25, turned herself in to authorities on Monday after a student at North County High School reported her on June 4 for engaging in sexual activities with him and for providing him with alcohol.

Boberg has been charged with two counts of fourth-degree sex offense for having a sexual contact with a person while in a position of authority,

She has also been charged with consuming alcohol on public property.

Fourth-degree sex offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. It also requires registering as a sex offender.

Investigators learned that Boberg and the student exchanged phone numbers in May.

Boberg and the student allegedly had numerous meetings away from school grounds last month.

Police allege that during those encounters, Boberg and the teen engaged in sexual activity. Boberg also provided the teen with alcohol.

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Baltimore police have released body camera video that shows a disturbance that took place last weekend in the Inner Harbor. Police said they made several arrests Saturday after a large group of teens came to the downtown area. Police said officers got reports that the teens were fighting. According to witnesses, the teens also made threats and caused property damage.

Two men are facing charges in Montgomery County for allegedly attacking a man because he was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat in Germantown over the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, police say a Germantown man was out enjoying the warm weather and walking through his neighborhood when he says two men walked up and became outraged by the hat that he was wearing. He says he was shocked when one of the men allegedly hit him from behind.

Nable says the two men began harassing him as soon as they spotted his MAGA hat — shouting that he take it off.

He told them he is entitled to his political views and tried to walk away but says they became violent and repeatedly hit him until he fell to the ground.

Nable says he came to the United States legally from Togo in West Africa in 2007 and is now a U.S. citizen. He says he has supported the Republican Party and President Donald Trump from the beginning, attending campaign events and even volunteering during Trump’s inauguration.

Witnesses called 911 and Montgomery County police say officers canvassing the area found the two suspects at a nearby basketball court attempting to hide among the children playing.

Jovan Crawford, 27, and Roberson, 25, are facing multiple charges each including robbery and second-degree assault.