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Maryland State Senator Nathaniel Oaks sentences 3.5 years in prison

Maryland State Senator Nathaniel Oaks sentences 3.5 years in prison
Posted at 3:52 PM, Jul 17, 2018

Former Maryland State Senator Nathaniel Oaks was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison following his role in a wire fraud case, the United States Attorney based in Baltimore said Tuesday.

The 71-year-old Oaks must also pay a $30,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service, and will have three years of supervised release following his sentencing on one count of wire fraud and one count of honest services wire fraud. 

Oaks represented Maryland District 41 in Baltimore City from 1994 until February 2017, when he resigned his position in the midst of a corruption investigation.

According to the details of his plea agreement, on Sept. 21, 2015, an cooperating individual introduced Oaks to an FBI source referred to as "Mike Henley," who portrayed himself as an out-of-town businessperson looking to obtain Baltimore City contracts at a meeting in Pikesville. At this meeting, Oaks offered his assistance in helping Henley develop business in the city. 

In the following months, Oaks met with Henley to further discuss the cultivation of business in Baltimore, including a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development project. Henley recorded many of these phone calls and in person conversations.

Between April and July of 2016, Oaks issued two letters on his official House of Delegates letterhead containing false and fraudulent representations to someone Oaks believed was a HUD official who could help Henley. Henley paid Oaks $10,300 for his assistance, according to the plea.

In September of 2016, Henley paid Oaks $5,000 to file a bond bill request with the Maryland Department of Legislative services, seeking $250,000 in state funds for the project. 

The money Henley paid Oaks was supplied by the FBI, and meetings were recorded using audio/video equipment.

Oaks confessed to two FBI agents on Jan. 9, 2017, that he had accepted the first two payments from Henley in exchange for the letters for the HUD project, saying he knew information in them was false and they were intended to assist Henley win contracts. Oaks also confessed to receiving the third payment in exchange for the DLS request for the Bond Bill Legislation. 

Following his confession, Oaks agreed to work with the FBI to investigate "Person #1," the plea said, recording phone and in-person meetings between Jan. 9, 2017 and March 30, 2017.

On March 17, 2017, Oaks met Person #1 at an Annapolis bar and told him "what we talk about, just say no," without recording the conversation, according to the plea deal. Oaks gave Person #1 similar instruction following an conversation in an Annapolis government building, in an effort to dissuade him from engaging in possibly incriminating behavior with Oaks. 

Because Oaks deliberately tipped off the subject of the investigation he was cooperating with, that investigation, and subsequent investigations of other politicians were considered no longer viable, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.