A woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to using fake ID to pose as a lawyer and enter a Baltimore prison to have sex with an inmate, prosecutors said. The woman, Tiffany G. Weaver, 29, of Reisterstown, Md., was charged with identity theft and use of false government identification after entering the prison in November to meet the inmate, Jason B. Moody, who is serving 30 years for manslaughter. Ms. Weaver, left, arrived at the prison with a bar association security pass with a photo and a business card with the name of a real lawyer from Annapolis, Amanda C. Sprehn, who was on maternity leave.(4.27.2007)
'Lawyer' Accused of Doing a Little Too Much for a 'Client'
Amanda C. Sprehn, a young lawyer in Maryland who specializes in injury cases, received a surprising letter from the warden of a Baltimore prison last month.
''It stated that I was caught having sex with an inmate,'' Ms. Sprehn, 28, said from her home in Annapolis, where she is on maternity leave. ''It said they were suspending my visiting privileges. As you can imagine, as an attorney, if I wasn't cleared of this -- having sex with a client -- I would lose my license.''
A senior lawyer at Ms. Sprehn's firm, Hyatt, Peters & Weber, was not particularly pleased about the letter either, which was copied to three officials, two agencies, two filing systems and the inmate himself.
''Tongues were wagging about an attorney from Hyatt, Peters having a conjugal visit, for want of a better term,'' said the senior lawyer, H. Richard Duden III. ''Typically the firm deals with its clients a little differently than is set forth in this letter.''
On Nov. 13, the warden's letter said, a woman calling herself Ms. Sprehn visited the prison. She said she represented Jason B. Moody, who is serving 30 years for manslaughter, and she presented both a Hyatt, Peters business card and a Maryland Bar Association ID.
The woman was allowed to see Mr. Moody in a private visiting room. She provided him, court papers say, with more than legal advice.
A member of the prison staff patrolling the area said she glanced into the room and saw a vivid tableau that was unmistakably sexual. Confronted, the woman said that her client was merely demonstrating something concerning his case.
''You could have knocked us down with a feather,'' Mr. Duden said of the firm's reaction to the letter. ''Immediately, we knew there was some imposter involved.''
But it took persistence from Ms. Sprehn and her firm to clear things up.
Ms. Sprehn had a pretty good alibi. ''I was actually watching my baby and my sister's two babies,'' she said.
It helped that the woman now accused in the matter, Tiffany G. Weaver, 29, of Reisterstown, Md., was ''not the savviest of criminals,'' Ms. Sprehn said. Though the forged bar identification card was plausible -- ''she looks like a beautiful young lady,'' Ms. Sprehn said -- the fake business card substituted Ms. Weaver's phone number for the firm's.
On Monday, Ms. Weaver was charged with seven counts of forgery, fraud and identity theft. The charges carry maximum sentences ranging from six months to 10 years. Ms. Weaver is out on bail, and her trial is scheduled for next month. She did not respond to a request for comment.
Why Ms. Weaver chose her to impersonate remains a mystery, Ms. Sprehn said. The two women do not know each other, and Ms. Sprehn, who does not practice criminal law, has never represented Mr. Moody.
But Ms. Sprehn said that there was an upside to the experience. ''I did get a good laugh out of it,'' she said. And a lesson.
''It just teaches you,'' Ms. Sprehn added, ''to be really vigilant about protecting your identity.''