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Former Hogan Chief of Staff accused of fraudulently collecting nearly $277k in state money

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Posted at 2:19 PM, Oct 05, 2021

BALTIMORE — Governor Larry Hogan's former Chief of Staff has been indicted on a slew of federal and state level charges stemming from his time as Maryland's Environmental Service Director.

Roy McGrath, 52, is accused of fraudulently obtaining nearly $277,000 dollars in state money and spending it on personal travel, and a certificate from a prestigious university.

A large portion of the indictments center on a $233,647.23 severance payment McGrath approved for himself in May of 2020, before resigning from the Environmental Service to go serve as Hogan's Chief of Staff.

Charging documents allege McGrath conspired many different ways to ensure he got the money.

To get the agency to sign off, prosecutors say McGrath falsely told them that Governor Larry Hogan was aware of and approved the severance payment which equated to about one-year's salary.

Hogan at the time denied having any knowledge of an agreement.

“To be clear, I did not approve, recommend, or have any involvement whatsoever in any of these decisions made by the board of directors of MES with respect to the former director Roy McGrath or any other individual," Hogan said amid the fallout in August 2020.

RELATED: Gov. Hogan’s new chief of staff resigns after large severance package called into question

When Hogan eventually did find out and questioned the payments, McGrath reportedly lied telling him the Environmental Service's Board of Directors offered the severance package in accordance with their usual practice.

Around that time, McGrath had allegedly been recording private conversations involving senior state officials without their permission. It's unclear if Hogan was one of them.

The one-time payment wasn't all that McGrath worked out as part of his severance package.

It also included more than $5,000 in tuition reimbursement benefits for McGrath after he'd already left the Environmental Service.

In an attempt to cover up the fact that he was receiving all these perks, court documents show McGrath tried deleting any mention of benefits that were documented in the public minutes of the Environment Service's Board of Directors meetings.

Other allegations suggest McGrath twice falsified time sheets, claiming to be working when actually he was vacationing.

After McGrath resigned as his Chief of Staff in August 2020, Hogan ordered an audit of the Maryland Environmental Service.

MORE: Hogan orders audit of Maryland Environmental Service amid severance pay controversy

Earlier this year, Maryland's Legislature passed Senate Bill 2, which implemented strict compensation protocols and accountability measures to reform the Maryland Environmental Service.

McGrath, who now lives in Florida, is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and a state court appearance in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, but no dates have been set for those hearings.

If convicted of all federal charges, McGrath faces a maximum combined sentence of 100 years behind bars.