Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that former University of Maryland Eastern Shore employee April Marie Sivak, 41, of Pittsville, pleaded guilty to one count of Felony Theft Scheme.
Somerset County Circuit Court Judge Daniel M. Long sentenced Sivak to 18 months incarceration, all of which was suspended. Sivak was placed on three years of supervised probation and ordered to pay $3,200 in restitution.
“This was a foolish and selfish act that is not representative of most honest and hardworking state employees,” said Attorney General Gansler. “When taxpayer money is stolen, our office works to recoup what was taken and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
While employed as an administrative assistant in UMES’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions in 2012 and 2013, Sivak used two state corporate purchasing cards to buy an Xbox, cell phones, jewelry and other items for personal use. The purchases cost the university approximately $3,800; prior to this week’s hearing, she made an initial restitution payment of $600.
In Circuit Court May 27, Sivak said she’s had a year to reflect on what’s transpired, telling Judge Daniel Long, “I’m extremely disappointed in myself” but through therapy and medication she is turning her life around. She said she is working part-time at Burger King, and has just been hired by Delmarva Management Group.
“I don’t like folks who steal from their employer,” Judge Long said, but if she makes $3,200 in restitution and completes probation without issue, he would consider closing the case as probation before judgment allowing the Salisbury resident to expunge her record. So far $600 has been repaid.
Public Defender Jennifer Turnbull said Sivak is “very understanding of the consequences of this case” and “she knows she let down everybody she worked for.” She lost “a good paying job” but is working to make restitution.
The judge said he would accept the plea and the sentence recommended by the prosecution, but “there won’t be much margin for error.”
The investigation was conducted by the Attorney General’s Criminal Division and the Maryland State Police with assistance from the University System of Maryland’s internal auditors. In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Investigative Auditor Harry Schulz, Maryland State Police Corporal Sha Brown and Assistant Attorney General Megan Davey Limarzi for their work on the case.