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US prosecutors seek nearly 5-year sentence for former Baltimore mayor

Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

BALTIMORE -- Federal prosecutors told a judge that former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh should receive nearly five years in prison for conspiracy and tax evasion.

Pugh is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27.

"The facts establish that Pugh deliberately engaged in a broad range of criminal acts while serving as Maryland state senator and mayor of Baltimore City," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

With the assistance of a longtime legislative aide, they wrote, Pugh "methodically expanded her illegal scheme and managed to conceal it from state and federal authorities and, most important, the citizens she served."

The counts include the sweeping allegations against Pugh in the initial indictment -- that she knowingly sought to defraud purchasers of her "Healthy Holly" children's books, reap financial and political benefits, and pay little or no taxes on the windfall.

Steven Silverman, one of Pugh's attorneys, said his team had filed its own sentencing memorandum, which would "speak for itself." The filing was not immediately available through the court, but Silverman said a redacted copy was forthcoming.

 

Under a plea deal, prosecutors will not pursue seven counts of wire fraud against Pugh.

The statement of facts described how Pugh defrauded area businesses and nonprofit organizations out of nearly $800,000 through sales of the books to unlawfully enrich herself, promote her political career and illegally fund her campaign for mayor.

Prosecutors also said Pugh had not disclosed her financial interests while in the state Senate before becoming mayor, as required by Maryland law. After The Baltimore Sun reported in March that Pugh did not disclose her $500,000 business relationship with the University of Maryland Medical System, the Democratic mayor submitted an amendment for seven years of reports filed with the state ethics commission.

She resigned from office in May.

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