BY BRIAN WITTE, The Associated Press
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Maryland State police superintendent Edward T.
Norris has been indicted on charges of using money from a Baltimore
Police Department account finance extramarital affairs and pay for
personal trips while he was the city police commissioner, the U.S.
attorney said Wednesday.
Norris is a former high-ranking chief with the New York City Police
Department. He was commissioner of the Baltimore police department
from 2000 through 2002, when he left to join the Maryland State
Indicted with Edward T. Norris was his former chief of staff at the
Baltimore department, John Stendrini. They are accused of misusing
more than $20,000 between May 2000 and August 2002 from an account
created from three Depression-era charity funds set up to benefit
"The defendants repeatedly used the funds as if it were their own ATM
and repeatedly made withdrawals to pay for luxury hotels, expensive
meals, clothing and gifts and to finance romantic encounters with
several different women," U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio said at a
Norris, 43, was the Baltimore police commissioner from May 2000
through 2002, when he left to join the Maryland State Police.
The indictment said that although there were no written guidelines
for the use of money from the account, it "was required to be used
for the benefit of the Baltimore Police Department."
Norris and Stendrini used false authorization letters for more than
40 withdrawals from the fund, the indictment alleged. They also
caused the city to incur excessive overtime expenses by using police
officers to "transport female companions in connection with romantic
encounters" with Norris, DiBiagio said. Norris allegedly carried on
the encounters in Baltimore and New York with at least six women.
Norris used money from the fund to "stock his house with alcohol, pay
for travel, pay for gifts from Victoria's Secret and Coach," DiBiagio
In May 2002, Norris lied about attending a meeting on terrorism in
New York that had been canceled and billed the fund for $700 for the
trip, DiBiagio said.
Norris is also accused of lying on a mortgage application to a
municipal employees' credit union. He received a $9,000 loan from an
employee for a down payment on his home, but falsely represented that
money was a gift from his father, the indictment said.
Norris has been under investigation since early this year for
activities during his tenure as the city's police commissioner. The
indictments were unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in
Norris' attorney, Andrew J. Graham, did not respond to phone calls
Wednesday to his office and cell phone seeking comment. Stendrini's
attorney, Michael Schatzow, was out of town and could not immediately
be reached for comment, his office said.
Norris joined the Baltimore department from the New York City police
department, bringing with him a computer crime-tracking system called
ComStat. Under his tenure, Baltimore cut its crime rates sharply.
Gov. Robert Ehrlich hired Norris as state police superintendent in
December. His spokesman, Gregory Massoni, said the indictment was
being reviewed. Asked if Norris had resigned or had been asked to
resign, Massoni said, "I can't say."
Norris said last summer that he would not step down from his job as
superintendent even if he was indicted.
"Unless the governor asks me to leave, I'm not going," Norris told
The (Baltimore) Sun in July. "I haven't done anything illegal. ...
I'll go to trial if it comes to that."
However, Norris issued an apology to the citizens of Baltimore after
the spending became public.
"I should have treated the fund from the start as a public fund, even
though it was not and never had been," he said. "Had I done this, we
would have full and complete records of how the money was used,
erasing all doubt about how and for what purposes it might have been
Norris said at that time that the money was spent largely for
training, recruiting, meetings with police officials in Baltimore and
elsewhere, official travel and on gifts for department members and
Norris, 43, is charged with one count each of conspiracy to misapply
funds, misapplication of funds and making a false statement in a
mortgage application. Stendrini, 60, is charged with one count each
of conspiracy to misapply funds, misapplication of funds and
obstruction of justice.
Once city officials began raising questions about the account,
Stendrini lied to them about how the money had been handled,
according to the indictment.
The misapplication of funds charges stem from the use of federal
funds to cover city police department expenses such as overtime and
costs that could have been covered by the special account.
If convicted of all charges, Norris would face a maximum sentence of
45 years. Stendrini would face a maximum sentence of 25 years.
More indictments could follow, DiBiagio said.
"The investigation is continuing, and this case is about more than Ed
Norris," DiBiagio said. "We're looking at all the ways the money was
spent and who was involved in spending the money."
Norris and Stendrini were expected to surrender Thursday morning to
federal marshals and make initial appearances before a federal
magistrate later that day.
After The (Baltimore) Sun reported the existence of the fund last
year, the city took over the account and ordered an independent
audit. At one point during Norris' tenure, the fund held at least
$112,000. By the time of the audit, it contained nearly $13,000.
As a result of the audit, the city deducted $7,663 in personal and
questionable expenses from Norris' $137,000 severance package when he
abruptly left to join the state police.
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The U.S. attorney's office started investigating after a citizen came
forward in January, claiming a public official had stolen money from
the police department, DiBiagio said.