Former Democratic Mayor of Baltimore Catherine Pugh Indicted on 11 Federal Charges
Pugh as indicted by a grand jury on the conspiracy to commit wire fraud
Former Baltimore mayor, Catherine Pugh, who resigned earlier this year amid a book deal scandal, was federally charged Wednesday with 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion, and wire fraud, according to developing reports.
Pugh, a Democrat, was indicted by a grand jury on the conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, seven counts of wire fraud, and two counts of tax evasion, according to a newly unsealed indictment.
The charges come in the most recent development in a scandal over a no-bid book deal that led to the former mayor's resignation in May this year.
Seven months ago, the FBI executed search warrants at several locations tied to Pugh, which included her home as part of their investigation into whether she profited from the deal while serving on the hospital's board.
Pugh marketed and sold her line of Healthy Holly books "to non-profit organizations and foundations, many of whom did business or attempted to do business with the Maryland and Baltimore City governments," according to a statement from the US Attorney's Office.
Jennifer Boone, the special agent in charge, said in the statement:
"The people of Maryland expect elected officials to make decisions based on the public's best interests, not to abuse their office for personal gain."
"Catherine Pugh betrayed the public's trust."
Pugh faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison if she is convicted.
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Robert Hur, the US attorney for the District of Maryland, told reporters that Pugh's actions "indicate a betrayal of the public trust."
Pugh's victims are "the taxpayers and the people of Baltimore who expect and deserve integrity from their public officials," according to Hur.
Last Spring, UMMS spent $500,000 to fund the purchase of some 100,000 books from Pugh's company, Healthy Holly LLC.
The former mayor also received about $114,000 from health care provider Kaiser Permanente for some 20,000 books from 2015 to 2018 and an additional $80,000 from the public foundation Associated Black Charities, which said it bought some 10,000 copies of Pugh's between 2011 and 2016.
Pugh, who was elected mayor in 2016, apologized in March for doing something to "upset the people."
She also returned $100,000 to the medical system, canceled her book deal, and resigned from the hospital's board.