Maryland Ex-Public Works Supervisor Pocketed $64K in Extortion Scheme: Prosecutors


Two Maryland men have been indicted after federal prosecutors say one of them used Baltimore city workers to install water, sewer and fire lines for private developers, charge them lower prices and shared the money with a co-conspirator.

Ronald Maurice Smith, 46, of Baltimore, and Philip Michael Loverde, 38, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, are each charged with extortion, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Thursday. In addition, Smith was indicted on a charge of being a felon in possession of a gun.

The indictment and criminal information were both filed on Dec. 18.

According to Smith's 10-count indictment, from January 2014 to February 2016, Smith was a supervisor with Baltimore City Department of Public Works' Water and Waste Management Division when he used employees, equipment and materials to install new and upgraded water, sewer, and fire line services for private developers and property owners.

Prosecutors said he did it without obtaining the required permits, approvals, and inspections, without paying city fees and without installing water meters while charging lower prices to the private developers and property owners than city-approved contractors.

The prosecutors said Smith was paid in cash because he asked for it, or because Loverde, who owned a plumbing business created an invoice to submit to the private property owner or developer, when in fact Smith and public works performed the work. According to the indictment, when Loverde's business was paid, he cashed the check and provided the cash to Smith.

The indictment alleges that to conceal the scheme, Smith caused other public works employees to create and submit false service requests and work orders. Prosecutors said Smith received at least $64,000 as a result of the scheme.

If convicted, Smith and Loverde each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Smith also faces a maximum sentence of 10 years on the gun charge.

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