Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh just got some bad news from U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow.
Chasnow ignored Pugh’s pleas for mercy and sentenced her to three years in prison for her fraud conviction.
Pugh’s fraud scheme involved a children’s book series and abusing her office that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars she looted from the state treasury.
From The Baltimore Sun:
“I disagree that the length of the sentence has no impact on others out there who might be thinking about using or abusing their positions of trust,” Chasanow said.
Pugh, 69, asked U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow for mercy and apologized in court “to anyone I have offended or hurt through my actions.”
Outside the courthouse, Pugh again apologized to the people of Baltimore, stating “nobody loves Baltimore more than I do.”
She also said that she had not intended any harm, but nonetheless would pay the price for her actions. She told reporters: “This is not the last you’ll see of Catherine Pugh.”
In handing down the prison sentence, which was to be followed by three years of probation, Chasanow called Pugh’s crime “astounding.”
“I have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense,” the judge said. “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.”
Pugh’s political fall began in March when The Baltimore Sun revealed she had entered into 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. She later resigned from the board and as mayor amid multiple investigations into her finances and the book sales. In total, she netted more than $850,000, prosecutors say.
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.
Chasanow ordered Pugh to pay restitution of $400,000 to the medical system and nearly $12,000 to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, which also paid Pugh for books. She also will have to forfeit nearly $670,000, including her Ashburton home and $17,800 in her campaign account. Pugh has also agreed that all copies of “Healthy Holly” in government custody will be destroyed.