Baltimore’s former Democrat Mayor, Catherine Pugh, has finally been charged with fraud and tax evasion in connection with paybacks from a children’s book she wrote and self-published in 2011.
On Wednesday, an 11-count federal indictment was made public accusing the former mayor of engineering fraudulent sales of her children’s book, “Healthy Holly,” and diverting the money to personal use and straw campaign donations to her political campaign.
Pugh is accused of double-selling the same lots of books to supporters and even government entities such as the Baltimore Public Schools often without even delivering the books. Prosecutors say she then took the some of the money created fake donors to the “donate” the money from book sales to her campaign.
“There are many victims in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Hur in announcing the indictment, according to the AP. “The victims are all of us, the taxpayers and the people of Baltimore, who expect and deserve integrity from their public officials.”
Prosecutors also added that Pugh employed two city government employees to help her in the fraudulent book sales scam.
The November 14 indictment also charged two former city workers, Gary Brown, Jr., and Roslyn Wedington. Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax fraud.
Pugh is set to appear on Thursday before U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow where she will face charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and tax evasion, the AP added.
The former mayor is not in federal custody, but authorities expect Pugh to turn herself in for her arraignment on Thursday.
The 69-year-old Pugh resigned as mayor in May ahead of the federal investigation into her activities.
Pugh’s legal team said it would make no public comments and would address the charges in court.
“If convicted,” the AP reported, “Pugh faces up to 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count, and five years for each tax evasion count. The federal government also will seek to seize a house owned by Pugh and $770,000 as part of any sentence.”
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