More trouble for former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.
Federal prosecutors have charged her with 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy. They said she was involved in a corrupt scheme involving her sales of a self-published children’s book series.
The grand jury indictment was made public Wednesday. In it, prosecutors allege Pugh defrauded area businesses and nonprofit organizations with nearly $800,000 in sales of her “Healthy Holly” books to “unlawfully enrich herself, promote her political career and illegally fund her campaign for mayor.”
Her customers apparently ordered more than 100,000 copies of the books. But, instead of printing those copies, Pugh allegeldy used the profits to buy a house, pay down debt and make illegal straw donations to her campaign.
At the same time, she was allegedly evading taxes. According to prosecutors, back in 2016 when she was a state senator and ran for mayor, she told the Internal Revenue Service she had made just $31,000. That was not true. Her income was more than $322,000 that year, meaning she shorted the federal government of about $100,000 in taxes.
Pugh’s charges carry sentences totaling 175 years in prison. For restitution, prosecutors want to seize $769,688 of her profits and current home in Ashburton.
The disgraced former mayor is due in U.S. District Court in downtown Baltimore on Thursday.
Source: Baltimore Sun
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