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Feds recommend nearly five years in jail for Pugh

Posted: 3:54 PM, Feb 13, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-14 17:15:13-05
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BALTIMORE — Federal prosecutors are recommending that a judge sentence former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh to nearly five-years in prison over the Healthy Holly book scandal.

Several details and exhibits were presented in a 90-plus page document released Thursday.

RELATED: Pugh pleads guilty to federal wire fraud and tax evasion charges

In it, prosecutors go over point by point how Pugh "engaged in a multidimensional scheme to defraud that spanned more than seven years," and "corruptly solicited funds from purchasers doing business with State and City Government."

Prosecutors argue that Pugh "deliberately misused her publishing business to gain a political advantage," while misusing "government resources to execute the fraud."

Pugh is said to have "laundered proceeds of the scheme to defraud through her publishing business to fund straw donations to her Mayoral Campaign."

She then solicited three different checks totaling $170,000 in illegal campaign contributions from book purchasers, all while failing to report the income to the IRS. Most of the money was donated by businessman J.P. Grant.

One of the three checks was for $20,000 and funneled through 2 Chic Boutique, a Baltimore based women's consignment shop owned by Pugh. Prior to the donation, the business had only $961 in their account and ultimately afterwards, a negative balance.

The documents also reveal how Pugh tried hiding her personal cell phone from federal agents who were serving a search and seizure warrant at her home.

She lied and told agents she only had her City phone, but when agents called the personal number it vibrated from her bedroom.

Also detailed in the filing is the lengths Pugh went to in order to buy the silence of her co-conspirator Gary Brown, who was a major player in carrying out straw purchases tied to the Healthy Holly scandal.

Pugh pleaded guilty on November 21, to wire fraud conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of tax evasion.

She's scheduled to be sentenced on February 27.

Pugh Prosecutors by Wmar Web on Scribd