Former Baltimore County Official Admits To Siphoning Nearly $130,000 In Campaign Funds
BALTIMORE COUNTY - William C. McCollum, 52, the financial comptroller for a prominent political group in Baltimore County, admitted in court to theft and perjury.
McCollum confessed to misappropriating campaign funds belonging to both the collective and a former county councilwoman's monetary committee at a Thursday morning Baltimore County Circuit Court session, with sentencing set for July 31.
In February, the Maryland State Prosecutor accused McCollum of consistently siphoning funds from the Baltimore County Victory Slate and ex-Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins' financial committee.
McCollum was charged with unlawfully acquiring nearly $100,000 from the "Friends of Cathy Bevins" fund from April 23, 2015, to January 31, 2020, for personal gain. He allegedly diverted the funds to cover his credit card expenses by transferring checks for the fund or vendors into his personal account.
The prosecutor further accused McCollum of exploiting campaign resources for a vacation in Puerto Rico with a romantic partner and for trips to Palm Beach, Florida, and Iceland. These expenses were allegedly not recorded in the campaign finance reports.
McCollum was also accused of pursuing a similar strategy to pilfer over $27,000 from the Baltimore County Victory Slate between May 27, 2015, and December 14, 2018.
The Maryland Daily Record reports that his lawyers told the court that he has initiated the repayment process.
"This repayment is facilitated through loans from friends and family, indicating his remorse and the beginning of his path to redemption," stated Andrew Graham, one of his lawyers.
In August 2020, McCollum was appointed as the interim director of economic development for Baltimore County. He discontinued his county employment in 2021 following reports of excessive expenditure at the Baltimore County Agricultural Center, his place of work since 2010.
Even after discontinuing work for Baltimore County, McCollum was reportedly paid for nearly a year by making use of his accrued sick leave.
The Baltimore County Victory Slate was founded by former Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. in 2006 to financially support his favored political aspirants.
Political slates are strategic campaign finance mechanisms that enable multiple candidates to amalgamate resources. Members can funnel limitless amounts into the common fund, which can then be employed for the benefit of its members without restrictions.
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