Anne Arundel County’s register of wills, Erica Griswold, has been indicted on theft and other charges stemming from allegations that she cashed a $6,645 cashier’s check intended for her office, the Maryland state prosecutor said Friday.
Griswold, a Democrat who was elected in 2022, was indicted by a county grand jury on charges of misconduct in office, misappropriation by a fiduciary and theft, Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard, III said in a news release.
The news release stated that Griswold’s office received a cashier’s check on June 16 from the beneficiary of an estate open with the office. It was made out to Griswold “for the purpose of satisfying an invoice from the Office for payment of non-probate inheritance tax,” the news release said.
But on June 22, 2023, the news release said, “Ms. Griswold allegedly cashed the $6,645.00 check at a local bank in exchange for cash paid directly to her.”
In early August, the check’s issuer reached out to the Register of Wills Office to ask why he was still getting invoices for $6,645 due in inheritance tax, which he thought he had paid.
Prosecutors said Griswold was informed that day of the issuer’s inquiry, and subsequently notified on several occasions of the importance of repaying the funds to the state. Howard’s office said the money had not been repaid as of Wednesday, Jan. 24.
“Government officials are expected to be good stewards of the public funds entrusted to them,” Howard said in a written statement. “Our agency strives to hold individuals in positions of public trust accountable if they violate that trust for personal gain.”
Griswold did not respond to an email and phone call from The Baltimore Banner.
An attorney for Griswold, Peter O’Neill, said she intended to plead not guilty. But he declined further comment.
In December 2022, Griswold was sworn in as the first Black person to assume the post in its 246-year history.