Former Md. Home Improvement Commission Employee Convicted

February 20, 2006

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. reported that Teera Armstrong Murray, 31, of Baltimore, pled guilty in District Court of Maryland, Baltimore County to one count of Extortion by a State Employee. The Honorable Barbara Jung sentenced Murray to six months imprisonment, suspending all but 68 days, gave credit for time served (68 days) and placed Murray on one year of supervised probation.

According to the State’s proof, Murray, a former office service clerk for the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC), attempted to extort $400.00 from a Baltimore County resident who was applying for a home improvement license.

On Dec. 7, 2004, when the applicant telephoned MHIC to inquire about the status of the application, Murray reportedly stated it had been denied. Several days later, Murray reportedly phoned the applicant and advised the license was approved but “it will cost you a little.” The applicant inquired further as to what Murray meant and offered to send a thank you card. Murray reportedly replied “no, I would prefer cash.” Murray called the applicant later that day and left a telephone message that said in part “I don’t know what you are willing to pay, but it is going to be between four and five.”

The applicant reported the extortion to the Baltimore County Police. While a police officer was present, the applicant called Murray back. When the applicant asked what the money was for, Murray reportedly responded “for approving your license.”

Murray is no longer employed with the State of Maryland.

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