Former Baltimore Mayor, Catherine Pugh, a 69-year-old Democrat has been indicted on 11 federal charges and faces up to 20 years in prison. Some of those charges include conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, multiple counts of wire fraud, and at least two counts of evading taxes.
As stated on WBALTV, "She lied to the IRS in order to pay less in taxes," U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said. "She violated Maryland state election law which prohibits someone from making a campaign contribution in someone else's name."sponsor
The report states that Pugh was officially charged on November 14 and it was recently made public.
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"There are many victims in this case. The victims are all of us, the taxpayers and the people of Baltimore who expect and deserve integrity from their public officials. The people of Baltimore expect -- and they should expect -- that elected officials place the interests of their citizens above their own," Hur said.
Pugh is scheduled for an initial appearance and arraignment in U.S. District Court in Baltimore before U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow at 1 p.m. Thursday. Pugh is expected to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals prior to the hearing.
Hur said Pugh faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy, up to five years for conspiracy to defraud the United States and up to five years for each of the two counts of tax evasion.
The report says Pugh was under investigation regarding book deals that were made through her own LLC while she was part of the UofM Medical System Board of Directors where she resigned.
It doesn't get better. The FBI and IRS also had search warrants for her homes and several other locations. They took several boxes of documents.
Then in May, Pugh finally resigned as mayor. This was after she took off for longer than a month, using leave of absence and citing health concerns. This also happened to be while she was facing some scrutiny regarding her children's books.
The guilty pleas of former Baltimore City employees Gary Brown Jr., 38, of Baltimore, and Roslyn Wedington, 50, of Rosedale, were also unsealed Wednesday. On Nov. 13, Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and for each of the seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to filing a false tax return. That same day, Wedington pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of filing a false tax return.
"The indictment alleges that from November 2011 until March 2019, Ms. Pugh conspired with Gary Brown to defraud purchases of Healthy Holly books in order to enrich themselves, promote Ms. Pugh's political career and fund her campaign for mayor," Hur said. "Mr. Brown helped Ms. Pugh solicit nonprofit organizations and foundations to buy the Healthy Holly books."
Hur said Pugh and Brown accepted payment for the books but did not deliver them; accepted payment for books and having them delivered but then converting those books for their own use without the buyers' knowledge; and double-selling books without either buyers' knowledge or consent.
It's stated, by Hur, that Pugh "allegedly" had copies of "fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books at various locations, including her residence, her state legislative offices in Annapolis and Baltimore City, her mayoral office at City Hall in Baltimore, the War Memorial building in Baltimore and a public storage locker used by her mayoral campaign."
The problem here is that proceeds went to her own purposes and possibly funding "straw donations to her mayoral election campaign and also to fund the purchase and renovation of her home in Baltimore City."
But wait, there's more!
She faces tax violations and is accused of filing false tax returns back in 2015 and 2016.
"The indictment alleges, for the tax year 2016, Ms. Pugh claimed her taxable income was a little over $31,000 and the tax due was a little over $4,000, when in fact her taxable income was over $322,000 with an income tax due of approximately over $100,000. In other words, her taxable income was more than 10 times what she reported to the IRS for that year and she owed more than 20 times more in taxes than she actually paid for that year."
So that's Pugh in a nutshell and it will probably take quite a while for this to be sorted out.