Former UMD employee accused of stealing more than $1.1 million
By Sophie Gorman Oriani
On March 8, 2022, a grand jury indicted Lisa Kay Schuetz, a former University of Maryland (UMD) employee, on two counts of theft. Court records show Schuetz was indicted on one count theft or theft scheme of property or services with a value of $100,000 or more, and one count theft of property or services with a value of more than $1,500 but less than $25,000.
At a March 9 press conference, State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County Aisha Braveboy announced the indictment, stressing that her office takes economic crimes very seriously.
“The University of Maryland police conducted an investigation over several years and uncovered evidence that, from 2016 to 2020, Schuetz abused her official position and purchasing authority by engaging in a scheme to defraud the University of Maryland at College Park in an amount exceeding $1.1 million dollars,” Braveboy said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Nicholas Leonardi is the county attorney on the case, according to Denise Smith, communications director for the Office of the State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County. (As of press time, he is not currently listed in court records for this case.) Leonardi declined to comment on what Schuetz is accused of stealing, or how the scheme worked. “That will be borne out at trial, should we get to that point,” he said at the press conference.
The university also did not offer any specific details. “[T]his individual was employed at the University of Maryland from May 2001 to May 2020 and the university thanks the officials who have investigated and prosecuted this case,” wrote Hafsa Siddiqi, UMD’s media relations manager, in a March 11 email.
According to public records, Schuetz earned $140,000 in 2017. A directory now marked as outdated on the university’s website lists her as a department representative in civil and environmental engineering.
Schuetz left the university in 2020. She was listed on the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics’ website as a grants and contracts analyst as recently as March of this year, although that page has since been removed. On March 16, Jamie Smith, the marketing and communications manager for the Berman Institute, confirmed that Schuetz was currently employed by Johns Hopkins, and Smith confirmed Schuetz’s job title on March 18.
If convicted, Schuetz faces up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Under the state’s Hicks Rule, which guarantees the right to a speedy trial, Schuetz must be brought to trial by Sept. 13 unless she waives this right, or if a continuance for good cause becomes necessary.