Federal prosecutors want Catherine Pugh to be given a sentence of up to five years in prison for her scheme involving sales of her self-published "Healthy Holly" children's books.
In a sentencing memorandum, U.S. Attorney Robert Hur labeled the former mayor of Baltimore of a scheme, which he worded “a recurring pattern of well-executed steps that built on each other, becoming more audacious and complex leading up to the mayoral election.” The former mayor pleads guilty to four charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and two counts of tax evasion.
The veteran Democratic politician will be given her sentence on the 27th of February.
The case is based on the bulk sales of Pugh's "Healthy Holly" books. These were sold to nonprofits and foundations, which she used to promote her political career and a source of fund for her campaign for mayor. The paperbacks were meant for schools and day care centers but the mystery of tens of thousands of copies not being found remains to be solved.
The prosecutors wrote "The facts establish that Pugh deliberately engaged in a broad range of criminal acts while serving as Maryland State Senator and Mayor of Baltimore City. She used the stature of those elected offices to solicit fraudulent book sales that generated substantial revenue for her publishing business, part of which she used to influence her 2016 mayoral election campaign in violation of state election laws."
According to the documents, aside from her illegal book sales, she is also guilty of lying to FBI agents who came with a warrant to seize her phone. She lied, saying that she does not have it and gave them a city-issued phone instead. That was when the agents called her personal phone, finding it under the pillow.
The documents also include Pugh using her co-owned business 2 Chic Boutique to launder $20,000 from local businessman J.P. Grant who contributed $6,000 to her campaign, a maximum amount.
Pugh's defense team disagree with the recommendation and will fight for a fair and more appropriate sentence, all of which will be made public pending order of court.