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Crime & Justiceby Fern Shen and Mark Reutter10:52 amDec 21, 20230

Exclusive: Baltimore County political insider Chris McCollum released from jail

Caught and convicted of stealing $140,000 from two campaign committees, McCollum served half of his six-month sentence

Above: Chris McCollum, convicted of stealing campaign funds, was the former director of the Baltimore County Ag Center. (Facebook)

William Christopher “Chris” McCollum, the former Olszewski administration official who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $140,000 in campaign funds, was released from jail today.

McCollum, sentenced on July 31 to six months in jail, reported to the Baltimore County Detention Center on September 18.

Today’s release, confirmed by the online victims notification network VINE, means McCollum served exactly half of his sentence.

Deputy State Prosecutor Sarah R. David had asked Baltimore Circuit County Judge Robert E. Cahill to sentence McCollum to one year of incarceration, saying he exhibited a “long-term, systematic pattern of fraudulent acts and abuse of trust. . . while committing these crimes.“

A political operative once on intimate terms with top county politicians, McCollum pleaded guilty to felony theft and perjury.

McCollum embezzled large sums of money “to finance a lifestyle above his means” from the campaign treasury of former Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D, Middle River) and the Baltimore County Victory Slate controlled by former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith.

A message left today for McCollum has not been returned.

Key Brew Stories on McCollum

High-ranking Baltimore County official made $30,000 in unauthorized purchases, IG says (4/13/21)

Jim Smith’s Victory Slate is fraught with financial irregularities (5/19/21)

State prosecutor has opened an investigation into Jim Smith’s Victory Slate (6/1/21)

Official at center of IG investigation gave generously to Baltimore County Executive Olszewski (6/14/21)

Employee in middle of Ag Center scandal remains on Baltimore County payroll, earning over $110,000 (4/25/22)

Baltimore County operative is charged with embezzling funds from campaign accounts of Jim Smith and Cathy Bevins (2/16/23)

Baltimore County insider Chris McCollum returns to court for sentencing (7/31/23)

Judge sentences Chris McCollum to six months, saying it will help deter other campaign finance crimes (7/31/23)

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