Former Baltimore Democrat Mayor charged with wire fraud and tax evasion
Former Baltimore Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh was charged with tax evasion and wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in Baltimore announced Wednesday, Nov. 20.
According to The Baltimore Sun Prosecutors allege that Pugh—who resigned her post in May—defrauded area businesses and nonprofit organizations of nearly $800,000 in the sale of her “Healthy Holly” books to illegally enrich herself, promote her political career, and illegally fund her campaign for mayor.
In a grand jury indictment released Wednesday, she is charged with a total of 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the United States in an alleged corrupt scheme involving the sale of a self-published series of children’s books.
The charges Pugh faces carry possible sentences totaling 175 years in prison, while prosecutors are trying to confiscate $769,688 of her earnings, along with her current Ashburton residence, which she would have purchased and remodeled with fraudulently obtained funds.
Pugh’s conspiracy began in December 2010 when she convinced the medical system to pay her $100,000 to buy 20,000 copies of her first book “Healthy Holly” to donate to Baltimore schools. Because the book contained “several grammatical and spelling errors,” the school system staff edited the books, but eventually decided that they could not be used but would be donated to students, prosecutors said in the indictment. Pugh became the second mayor of Baltimore to resign in connection with a criminal investigation in the last decade. Democrat Mayor Sheila Dixon resigned in 2010.
The criminal charges against the former mayor are the latest hit on a city plagued by violence, persistent poverty, and corrupt and progressive policies.