Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced today that Kimberly R. Champagne, 48, of Gambrills entered an Alford plea to one count of a felony theft scheme for making unauthorized purchases with the Waugh Chapel Swim Club’s credit card. In return, a more serious felony charge was dropped by the prosecution. An Alford plea doe not admit guilt, but admits that there is enough evidence to convict. She was sentenced to five years in prison, but all but 90 days were suspended. Champagne was also ordered to pay restitution of $11,880 to the club. The Honorable Donna M. Schaeffer was the presiding judge.
“Ms. Champagne abused her privilege and position as an employee and board member by stealing money from the Waugh Chapel Swim Club in order to finance her lifestyle,” said State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “With this plea, Ms. Champagne will be held accountable for her criminal actions and be required to restore the swim club’s stolen funds.”
In March 2018, the Anne Arundel County Police Department were contacted after the club’s new treasurer had uncovered evidence that Ms. Champagne, the club’s dive instructor, had been using the club’s credit card to make personal purchases.
The credit card was only to be used for purposes as the dive team representative or to otherwise serve the membership. A joint investigation by the Anne Arundel County Police Department and the Office of the State’s Attorney for Anne Arundel County uncovered that between June 2016 and December 2017, Ms. Champagne purchased more than 480 items from Amazon. The items purchased included clothing, makeup, hair products, Christmas decorations, children’s toys and clothing, pet beds and food, computer tablets, jewelry, baby items, groceries, a vacuum, outdoor landscape lighting, small furniture and sports equipment. The total loss was assessed at $11,880. Ms. Champagne, as the dive team representative and member of the Board of Directors, was never given permission to use the credit card for her own use during this time.
Assistant State’s Attorney Colleen Elizabeth McGuinn from the Economic Crimes Unit prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.