Former Maryland Fire Dept. Treasurer Arrested For Embezzlement

July 4, 2004
A former Chapel Oaks Volunteer Fire Dept. employee was arrested on charges of theft and embezzlement, according to the Attorney General's Office.
A former Chapel Oaks Volunteer Fire Department employee was arrested yesterday on charges of theft and embezzlement, according to the Attorney General's Office.

Darnita Dent, 35, of Bladensburg has been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $50,000 from the fire department while serving as the treasurer for its board of directors, said Chapel Oaks Chief Johnathan Bolden.

From June 1998 until February 2000, Dent allegedly embezzled funds from the fire department?s bank account by writing unsanctioned checks and making cash withdrawals, Bolden said.

"We have [surveillance] video tapes of her at the bank," he said. "And you can see her making withdrawals on the tapes."

Bolden replaced Chief John Clayton in 2001, and assisted the new administration in bringing the evidence against Dent to the Attorney General?s Office.

Bolden said Clayton will not comment about his knowledge of the alleged crimes.

The Office of the Attorney General and the Maryland State Police lead the investigation into the allegations against Dent. Charges were filed by the Prince George?s Grand Jury on June 8.

The Criminal Investigations Division of the Attorney General?s Office will prosecute the case.

If found guilty, Dent could face up to 15 years in prison and a $1,000 fine for felony theft in addition to a maximum of five years in prison for the charge of misappropriation by a fiduciary.

Bolden said the fire department has since changed its policy so that treasurers may not make cash withdrawals and two signatures are required on all of the department?s checks.

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