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Former Busch campaign manager charged with stealing funds from account

Former Busch campaign manager charged with stealing funds from account

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A campaign manager for a former speaker of the House of Delegates faces charges of theft from a state campaign account.

Alexandra Gilbreath faces eight charges connected to the alleged theft of more than $4,000 from a campaign slate account that included former House Speaker Michael Busch and Sen. Sarah Elfreth.

Gilbreath began working as the campaign treasurer for the Team 30 Slate in 2014.

According to charging documents filed by the Office of the State Prosecutor, Gilbreath allegedly transferred more than $4321 from the account into her Venmo account. Prosecutors said the money was used to pay “personal expenses.”

She also allegedly failed to file timely campaign finance reports. The filings were her responsibility as treasurer. That duty also made her responsible for filing amended reports to correct deficiencies.

Gilbreath allegedly made the first payment to herself in the form of a $1,000 check written by her on Oct. 2. She allegedly made a cash withdrawal of $300 about two weeks later, according to charging documents.

In a campaign finance report filed on Oct. 30 of that year, Gilbreath allegedly failed to report the transactions despite the fact that they fell within the reporting window.

Prosecutors said Gilbreath transferred $1,000 directly to her Venmo account. She also allegedly withdrew another $300 in cash on November 6 and 9. She then allegedly withdrew another $250 cash from the slate account on November 13.  She also transferred another $100 to her Venmo account on November 13, 2018.

Prosecutors said Gilbreath then failed to report those transactions on a campaign finance report that was filed on November 26.

The scheme unraveled after state elections officials noted deficiencies in three campaign filings leading up to and following the 2018 election.

“As soon as we felt as if something was wrong, we took it to the state board (of elections),” said Sen. Sarah Elfreth.

Elfreth said the members of the slate discontinued use of the account but left it open because it was under investigation.

Gilbreath, who listed her address in Annapolis on campaign filings, joined the slate campaign in 2014. She had previously worked for the late House Speaker Michael Busch.

Busch died in 2019, months after winning re-election.

In addition to working for Busch. Gilbreath also worked as a registered lobbyist and political organizer in Annapolis.

Gilbreath is not yet represented by an attorney, according to online court records. An initial appearance is scheduled for May 23.

Gilbreath is charged with one count of theft in the case. The charge carries a penalty of five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

She also faces one count of misappropriation by a fiduciary, which carries a penalty of not less than 1 year in prison, not to exceed five years.

She also faces two counts of perjury for filing inaccurate campaign finance reports in October and November of 2018. Each count carries a penalty of 10 years in prison.

Gilbreath is also charged with failure to file an amended report in 2019 and with failing to file a required campaign finance report in January 2021 as well as two amended reports for the 2018 election. All four counts carry a penalty of one year in prison and possibly a fine of up to $25,000.

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