Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Federally Indicted On 11 Counts

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is expected to surrender to the U.S. Marshals on Thursday.

Baltimore, MD – Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been federally indicted on 11 counts involving the “Healthy Holly” children’s books she authored.

Pugh, a 69-year-old Democrat, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, two counts of tax evasion, and seven counts of wire fraud on Nov. 13, WBAL reported.

The charges were not made public until Wednesday.

"She lied to the IRS in order to pay less in taxes," U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said, according to WBAL. "She violated Maryland state election law which prohibits someone from making a campaign contribution in someone else's name."

Hur said that the disgraced former mayor’s actions victimized Baltimore’s taxpayers.

“The victims are all of us, the taxpayers and the people of Baltimore who expect and deserve integrity from their public officials,” he said. “The people of Baltimore expect – and they should expect – that elected officials place the interests of their citizens above their own.”

Pugh also allegedly defrauded the Baltimore public school system and health care companies by failing to deliver books they paid for, according to The New York Times.

In some cases, she accepted payment for thousands of books that were never even printed, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, Pugh received nearly $800,000 for her books, both before and after she was elected as mayor, The Washington Post reported.

“Corrupt public employees rip off the taxpayers and undermine everyone’s faith in government,” Hur said, according to The New York Times.

Pugh is expected to surrender herself to the U.S. Marshals prior to her initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Thursday, WBAL reported.

She faces up to 175 years in prison if she is convicted of the charges against her, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Investigators began looking into Pugh’s Healthy Holly LLC book deals while she was still a member of the board of directors at the University of Maryland Medical System, WBAL reported.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed search warrants at then-Mayor Pugh’s residences and multiple other locations in April.

Pugh took a month of medical leave during the same timeframe, and ultimately resigned from her mayoral position in May.

Meanwhile, Pugh’s former aide, Gary Brown, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and two counts of conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with the now-former mayor’s alleged scheme, The Baltimore Sun reported.

“From November 2011 until March 2019, Ms. Pugh conspired with Gary Brown to defraud purchases of Healthy Holly books in order to enrich themselves, promote Ms. Pugh's political career and fund her campaign for mayor," Hur said, according to WBAL. "Mr. Brown helped Ms. Pugh solicit nonprofit organizations and foundations to buy the Healthy Holly books."

In some instances, the duo took in payments for the books but failed to deliver them, prosecutors said.

In other cases, they delivered the purchased books, but then converted the same books for their own use without the purchasers’ knowledge. They have also been accused of double-selling books without the consent of the purchasers, WBAL reported.

"Ms. Pugh allegedly stored quantities of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books at various locations, including her residence, her state legislative offices in Annapolis and Baltimore City, her mayoral office at City Hall in Baltimore, the War Memorial building in Baltimore and a public storage locker used by her mayoral campaign," Hur explained.

Hur told reporters that Pugh used the proceeds from the “fraudulently-obtained ‘Healthy Holly’ books” to fund “straw donations” to her mayoral campaign, as well as to purchase an renovate her Baltimore home, WBAL reported.

In order to evade having to pay taxes on income the books generated, Pugh and Brown “created the pretense of an ongoing business relationship” between the book LLC and Brown’s own business, he said.

“Ms. Pugh wrote checks to Mr. Brown for tens of thousands of dollars from Healthy Holly's bank account. Ms. Pugh allegedly told her tax preparer that the payments to Mr. Brown's business were for business services that he provided,” Hur said, according to WBAL.

“She then instructed the tax preparer to deduct those payments as business expenses in order to lower her tax liability. However, these payments from Healthy Holly LLC to Mr. Brown's business were not for business services,” he noted. “In reality, Mr. Brown's business provided no services or products at all to Healthy Holly LLC. This was a ruse, according to the indictment."

According to Hur, Pugh significantly underreported her taxable income in 2015 and 2016.

“Her taxable income was more than 10 times what she reported to the IRS for [2016] and she owed more than 20 times more in taxes than she actually paid for that year,” he said.

Pugh also formerly headed a nonprofit group, the Maryland Center for Adult Training, with executive director Roslyn Wedington, who has also pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns and defrauding the government, The New York Times reported.

Prosecutors said that Wedington knowingly filed false tax returns that Brown had prepared.

“This is a tragedy and the last thing that our city needs,” Hur said, according to The Washington Post.

He noted that the former mayor’s scheme was a “betrayal of the public trust.”

Comments (37)
No. 1-29
IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

Took them long enough.... Baltimore is quickly catching up with Chicago and Newark as the worst city with a history of electing leaders who end up getting indicted for corruption.

Hopefully she is convicted and sent to prison, and her case is used as a deterrent to prevent future politicians from acting in a clearly corrupt manner.

sturnman22
sturnman22

Another beauty - looks and ethics. A proud Democratic, corrupt POS politician!

jarhead24
jarhead24

Typical big city mayor. Couldn’t expect to much from her considering who VOTED her into office.

RussellSR
RussellSR

Minority Democratic female I doubt there will be any significant prison time served

JBoH
JBoH

The 11th Commandment: Thou shall not lie to the IRS because nothing good will follow.

MJTECH
MJTECH

Her book Healthy Holly has some excellent reviews on Amazon.

R. C.

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book- Highly recommend April 3, 2019

I bought 50 of these and finally my rooftop deck permit got approved. 10/10 would buy again

MJ

catsaunders
catsaunders

24 months at a golf course Federal Prison for women, restitution, public apology, piece of cake

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

The predominately dem cities are a cesspool for corruption. I’m not surprised.

Even though, this ladies book selling crime pales compared to some of these race hustlers like Sharpton and Schiff.

X-cop
X-cop

Another one bites the dust.

tfort
tfort

I am so glad I don’t live in Baltimore. I used to live in Washington, D.C. and would go to baseball game in the old park. It was so much fun.

CopperheadCSA
CopperheadCSA

Wow, amazing how butt-ugly nearly all of these dem hags are. That woman could knock a buzzard off a gut wagon.

LEO0301
LEO0301

Couldn't have happened to a nicer person. Hope she enjoys prison.

Oldblue2
Oldblue2

Don’t worry Ms Democrat, I’m sure a Kardumpsian will get you add the hook.

JDS
JDS

Member of the Board of Directors at Univerisity of Maryland Medical? Mayor of Baltimore? Unreal.

Balkanbobby
Balkanbobby

They must be joking 175 years? I would be shocked if she spent 175 days in the county jail. This is obviously all a big misunderstanding!

ikaika
ikaika

Aw, a black female democrat politician committed a small ethical error, which was surely a mistake? I'm stunned. Say it isn't so!

DeiselDemon92
DeiselDemon92

Now for the rest of them!!

Raymelson
Raymelson

Seems like once they get any power that the law doesn't apply to them

Raymelson
Raymelson

This isn't just happen up north I live in Alabama and it happens here to once these people get elected they lie cheat an steal for the luv of money is the root of all evil

Farmer
Farmer

This is a feel good story. It made my day!

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

Oh please!! I'm shocked she's being arrested. Probably because it went from a local to a federal crime is why. But I doubt she will see any serious prison time. Because after all she's black, a Democrat and a woman! Black privilege!! Same exact thing happened in Jacksonville Florida with Corrine Brown. Corrine Brown was facing a long time in prison for fraud and tax crimes but they gave her only 5 years. Of which she'll only have to serve 80%. The bitch even had the Rev. Jesse Jackson here trying to help her. She's still trying to appeal. LOL Pathetic greedy scumbags!!

Stanracer
Stanracer

Another corrupt politician. Looks good on her. Hope she gets lots of jail time. Which , of course, is unlikely.

observer1
observer1

Then there is the rotten, lying black female named Stacy Abrams who is still shouting Voter Suppression is the reason she lost the Georgia governor's race. This nasty black female allowed the New Black Panthers to come and march for her and they were marching with rifles and shotguns!

magnumforc
magnumforc

And in Baltimore this is news? What a shithole it has become since I worked those streets in the 60's. Wait...it was already a shithole especially after April 68 and the riots.

cspcapt
cspcapt

and what do you expect, it's baltimore i worked there for 2 yrs. we reported to the governor

HenryBowman
HenryBowman

Plus, just the appearance of that hangdog mug next to a banner saying “charmtv” is worth a great big belly laugh in and of itself.

Big_Tex
Big_Tex

Welcome to "harm city"

61mouse
61mouse

She'll be right at home .

hunteriiii
hunteriiii

Baltimore mayor seems like a nice person, if she gets sentenced to 175 years in prison she should get that reduced to half or 87.5 years for good behavior. Problem is her behavior may cause her to serve the full sentence!