Tracy Denise Queen was sentenced today to 10 years in prison, with all but 18 months suspended, for billing Baltimore city schools for more than $150,000 worth of tutoring that never took place.
Queen, 41, of Reisterstown, pleaded guilty in April to felony theft in connection with the scam, which Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Shelly S. Glenn said cheated 250 city students out of nearly 4,000 hours of tutoring over three years.
Upon release, Queen will have to pay full restitution to the school system and be on probation for 10 years, according to the news release from the office of State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt.
One of the speakers at today’s sentencing hearing in Baltimore County Circuit Court was Joan Jacobson, the parent of a special needs student who discovered the scheme when she realized Queen’s company was billing city schools for tutoring her son never received. (Baltimore Brew broke the story of the tutoring scheme last year.)
Jacobson, a Brew contributor and former Baltimore Evening Sun and Baltimore Sun reporter, not only told the story of how she uncovered the false billing and alerted prosecutors, but also castigated Queen for victimizing children with special needs and their parents struggling through a complex bureaucratic process to hep them.
“I do not know if any other parents suspected a problem with Queens Mobile, but I can tell you that the special education system in Maryland has an incredibly complicated, multi-layered and at times Byzantine structure that takes a large commitment in time for any parent to decipher,” Jacobson said.
(Her son has suffered during the last few years from depression and anxiety disorder that qualified him for special education instruction, she said in court.)
“Having a child with special needs is exhausting enough. Having to wade through a world of special education teachers, psychologists, speech therapists, school aids, and tutors is even more of a burden,” Jacobson told the judge. “The fact that Ms. Queen, a special educator herself, preyed upon us for monetary gain is especially onerous.”
Jacobson added that she is “still am waiting to find out what the city school system has done to prevent this theft from happening again.”