By: David M. Higgins II

Chesapeake Beach, MD- On Thursday, March 21, 2019, a former Maryland State Police Officer ( First Sergeant/Assistant Barrack Commander, Prince Frederick,Md) and current five-term Chesapeake Beach Council member Stewart Cumbo was charged with illegal wiretapping.

The investigation revealed that between July and November 2018, Cumbo allegedly recorded 275 conversations without notifying the person(s) he was recording.

Maryland State Statute’s fall under the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act. The primary purpose of this act is to outlaw the interception of private communications by a third party. However, the law states that it is “unlawful to tape record a conversation without the permission of all parties”.

Since telephone communications (including call recording for business purposes) fall under the electronic communications portion of the statute, everyone who is party to the conversation needs to give their consent for it to be recorded. However, according to Maryland recording laws, implied consent is enough to make recording the call legal.

Implied consent means that if you inform the other parties that they are being recorded, and they continue with the conversation anyway, that is sufficient, and they do not have to give explicit consent. A pre-recorded message such as ”This message may be recorded for quality and assurance purposes” is good enough to comply with Maryland recording laws.

The statute in which Cumbo is charged under is a felony in Maryland.

“We need to ensure people are respecting boundaries set by Maryland’s wiretapping laws, it is especially egregious that a former police officer would be unaware of the notice requirements under Maryland law,” said State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt.

Cumbo has served on multiple committees and boards with the local government and his wife and him are the original owners of Chesapeake Beach Ice Cream Parlor

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...