Chapman Jurors Seek Verdict 'Advice'

August 11, 2004 ( - Federal court jurors turned to the judge hearing fraud charges against a former money manager for the state of Maryland retirement system for guidance about what to do if they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on some of the 32 charges.

The Associated Press reported that, in a note read byUS District Judge William Quarles, jurors said they were spending a lot of “precious time” on at least one of the counts against defendant Nathan Chapman Jr. and pleaded to Quarles: “”We need your advice regarding this matter.”

Quarles called the jury into court and told them they could reach a verdict on all counts, some counts or none. “It’s entirely up to you,” he said, before sending the jury back to deliberate. The jury was in its sixth day of deliberations in a case that began almost two months ago.

Chapman, 46, was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud and other crimes in an indictment largely relating to his use of state retirement system funds to revive the stock price of his sagging company (See Chapman Fraud Trial Winds Down ).

The $29 billion retirement system, which is responsible for the pensions of more than 250,000 teachers, police officers, firefighters and other government workers, lost nearly $5 million in the transactions. Chapman managed more than $100 million in funds for the retirement system. He managed funds from 1996 until its trustees fired him in January 2002.

He also was accused of corrupting a pension trustee, Debra Humphries, one of the mistresses he allegedly showered thousands of dollars on, as well as gifts and a Hawaiian vacation (see Chapman’s Mistress Takes the Stand ).

Chapman served on the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents for eight years, nearly four of them — from 1999 to 2002 — as chairman. He was a friend and political supporter of former Governor Parris Glendening who appointed Chapman to the board and pushed for his selection as chairman.