- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2003

BALTIMORE — A former Maryland pension trustee pleaded guilty yesterday to lying about the amount of cash and gifts she received from Nathan Chapman Jr., when he managed funds for the state retirement system.

Debra Humphries, 45, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conviction, but if she cooperates with the investigation of Mr. Chapman she is not expected to get the maximum.

Her attorney, Christopher Mead, declined to comment after the court hearing in Baltimore.

U.S. District Judge William Quarles, who accepted the plea, did not set a sentencing date. Humphries initially pleaded not guilty to the charge last month.

Prosecutors say Humphries, of Bowie, was Mr. Chapman’s mistress during the time she and other trustees were responsible for overseeing his role with the state employees’ pension fund.

Mr. Chapman was responsible at the time for managing more than $100 million in retirement funds.

Humphries was romantically involved with Mr. Chapman from 1996 through 1999. She testified before a federal grand jury that she received between $1,300 and $1,500 in cash gifts from Mr. Chapman.

Prosecutors say she actually got about $46,400 in cash payments between 1998 and 1999. She also received jewelry, clothing and a trip to Hawaii.

Humphries did not disclose any of the gifts she received from Mr. Chapman on financial disclosure reports. She also did not recuse herself from voting on matters that came before the board involving Mr. Chapman.

Humphries resigned from the State Retirement and Pension System Board of Trustees on June 16, shortly before she was indicted.

Mr. Chapman was charged in June with fraudulently using state pension funds to boost his own company’s stock price. The state’s $29 billion pension system lost nearly $5 million in the process.

The system is responsible for the pensions of more than 250,000 teachers, police officers, firefighters and other government workers.

Mr. Chapman, who also was a member of the state university system’s Board of Regents, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He resigned from the board last month.

Mr. Chapman invested money for the pension fund from 1996 until he was fired in January 2002, after trustees learned of an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Prosecutors also say that Mr. Chapman stole about $437,000 from his companies and spent much of the money on various women.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening appointed Humphries to the board in 1997, at the urging of his longtime political ally, Mr. Chapman.

Humphries was one of the board’s strongest advocates of entrusting more money to minority-owned companies such as Mr. Chapman’s.

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