Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Indicted On Federal Wire Fraud Charges

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Another day another shady Democrat goes down in flames. A federal grand jury just handed down a multiple count indictment against former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

She got hit with seven counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud as well as some tax-related counts. It seems the feds also unsealed some guilty pleas so they must have cut a few deals to get to the former mayor.

It looks like she had a legitimate business writing books that she used to help fund her political campaigns but was double-dealing and not delivering the books and double selling.

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From DOJ

A federal grand jury has indicted Catherine Elizabeth Pugh, age 69, of Baltimore, Maryland, on the federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of tax evasion.  The indictment was returned on November 14, 2019, and was unsealed today. Catherine Pugh is scheduled for an initial appearance and arraignment in U.S. District Court in Baltimore before U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on November 21, 2019 at 1:00 p.m.  Pugh is expected to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals prior to the hearing on November 21st.

The guilty pleas of former Baltimore City employees Gary Brown, Jr., age 38, of Baltimore, and Roslyn Wedington, age 50, of Rosedale, Maryland, were also unsealed today.  On November 13, 2019, Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, to 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 to five counts of filing a false tax return.

The indictment and guilty pleas were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

“Our elected officials must place the interests of the citizens above their own,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Corrupt public employees rip off the taxpayers and undermine everyone’s faith in government.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will zealously pursue those who abuse the taxpayers’ trust and bring them to justice.”

“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,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone of the FBI’s Baltimore Division.  “The indictment alleges that Catherine Pugh betrayed the public’s trust. The FBI will continue to diligently work to detect fraud and corruption and hold those who violate this trust accountable.”

“Public officials should be a role model for the citizens they serve – adhering to the highest of standards,” said IRS-CI SAC Kelly Jackson. “These individuals chose to evade payment of their fair share of taxes instead, actions for which they must be held accountable in order to preserve public trust and confidence.”

According to Pugh’s 11-count indictment, from approximately 2007 through 2016 Pugh served in the Maryland State Senate, where she served on various legislative committees, including the Senate Health Committee.  In 2011, Pugh ran an unsuccessful campaign to be mayor of Baltimore.  In September 2015, Pugh again ran for mayor of Baltimore, and won, becoming Mayor on December 6, 2016.  Pugh owned Healthy Holly, LLC, a company formed in Maryland on January 14, 2011, and used to publish and sell children’s books she had written.  Pugh also owned Catherine E. Pugh and Company, Inc., a marketing and public relations consulting company organized in Maryland in 1997.  The principal address for both companies was Pugh’s residence in Baltimore.  Pugh was also the sole signatory on the Healthy Holly and Pugh Company bank accounts.  Pugh did not maintain a personal bank account, using her business bank accounts for personal and business finances. 

As stated in the indictment, between June 2011 and August 2017, four Healthy Holly books were published, with each book listing “Catherine Pugh” as author.  The vast majority of books published by Healthy Holly were marketed and sold directly to non-profit organizations and foundations, many of whom did business or attempted to do business with the Maryland and Baltimore City governments.

The indictment alleges that from November 2011 until March 2019, Pugh conspired with Gary Brown to defraud purchasers of Healthy Holly books in order to enrich themselves, promote Pugh’s political career, and fund her campaign for mayor.  The indictment alleges that the conspirators employed several methods to defraud, including: not delivering books after accepting payments for the books; accepting payments for books to be delivered to a third party on behalf of a purchaser, then converting some or all of the purchased books to their own use without the purchaser’s or third party’s knowledge; and by double-selling books without either purchaser’s knowledge or consent.  Pugh allegedly stored quantities of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books at various locations, including Pugh’s residence, her state legislative offices, her mayoral office, and a public storage locker used by Pugh’s mayoral campaign.  The indictment alleges that Pugh used the proceeds of the sale of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books for her own purposes, including: to fund straw donations to Pugh’s mayoral election campaign; and to fund the purchase and renovation of a house in Baltimore City.

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