Former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh has been indicted for wire fraud and tax evasion as she abused her office for significant financial gain. Pugh resigned from office, claiming poor health as the reason even as she was being investigated for corruption. Her money making schemes were utilized over a period of telve years. She would write a children’s book and people wishing to do business with the city of Baltimore would buy up a huge number of those books.
FBI special agent Jennifer Boone said in a 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.”
Pugh received $500,000 for 100,000 copies of her children’s book, “Healthy Holly,” beginning in 2011. At that time she was a state Senator and the books were purchased by the University of Maryland Medical System. Pugh served on their board and also on the committee in the legislature that provided funding for them. Kaiser Permanente paid Pugh $100,000 dollars when they were trying to land a $48 million dollar contract from one of the city boards.
From the Post:
Most of the books were marketed and sold directly to non-profit groups and foundations that did business or tried to get business with the state and city of Baltimore, prosecutors allege. Book sales were intended to enrich Pugh and a partner — including purchasing and renovating Pugh’s home — and to “promote Pugh’s political career, and run her campaign for mayor,” according to prosecutors.
Pugh would allegedly store the books at her home and at her offices. She allegedly wrote “Healthy Holly checks” to a staffer who would then cash the checks and return the cash to Pugh as straw donations to her mayoral campaign.
The former mayor has been charged with seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of tax evasion, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.