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Legal Aid ex-officer charged in $1M scheme

A former financial officer for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau was charged Wednesday in a years-long scheme to steal more than $1 million from the nonprofit organization, Maryland federal officials said.

Benjamin Louis King, 58, of Gwynn Oak, who worked as chief of finance for the organization from 1978 to January 2008, was charged in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Prosecutors allege that in 1997 King hatched a plan with another man who opened a business that sold paper, envelopes and other supplies to the legal aid bureau. The pair inflated invoices, then stole the excess money, according to court records.

The men skimmed more than $1.1 million between 2004 and 2007, prosecutors said. The store owner, Wendell Jackson, 59, of Westminster, also was charged.

The bureau, which is funded through federal grants and private donations, provides legal services to people around the state who can not afford to hire attorneys in civil matters.

-- Maria Glod

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 27, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Financial Crimes , From the Courthouse , Maria Glod , Maryland  
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