Former Democratic mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, has been sentenced to three years of federal prison after being found guilty of a fraud scheme that involved children's books.
She apparently was misleading organizations who were buying the book series she sold, named "Healthy Holly."
The judge stated that they "have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense," and that this "was not a tiny mistake, lapse of judgment. This became a very large fraud. The nature and circumstances of this offense clearly, I think, are extremely, extremely serious.”sponsor
The fraud disaster started when Pugh was outed by the Baltimore Sun who revealed that she was in a "no-bid deal with the University of Maryland Medical System, where Pugh sat on the board of directors, to buy 100,000 copies of her sloppily self-published “Healthy Holly” books for $500,000."
Pugh eventually left the board and resigned as mayor after several investigations into her finances and book sales took place. She allegedly pulled in over $850,000 according to prosecutors.
Her fraudulent behavior let people down too. She didn't even provide some of the books that people paid for and apparently just took the money for it and got involved in laundering, according to the Baltimore Sun.
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At the same time, she failed to print thousands of copies, double-sold thousands more and took many others to use for self-promotion, according to prosecutors. Investigators also uncovered that she laundered illegal campaign contributions and failed to pay taxes.
Pugh is also accused of purposely deceiving people and setting things up to rig an election in her favor.
U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow sentenced Pugh to the three years in prison, but also slapped her with another hefty punishment in the form of $400,000 restitution to the medical system and almost $12,000 to be paid to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund who paid for some of the books.
She will have to forfeit nearly $670,000, including her Ashburton home and $17,800 in her campaign account. Also, Pugh agreed that all of her copies of “Healthy Holly” books, collected by the FBI in raids on her houses and offices, will be destroyed.
The books probably suck anyway, so this is a good thing.