Just under a year after federal agents raided her office on allegations of “self-dealing,” former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison on fraud and tax evasion charges.
A federal judge sentenced Pugh in February 2020 to three years in federal prison and three years of probation for using fraudulent book sales to funnel illegal donations to her campaign and evade taxes.
Pugh, 69, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion charges, she will report to prison in April NPR reports.
Pugh must also pay $411,948 in restitution and forfeit $669,688, including property in Baltimore and $17,800 from the committee campaign named “Re-elect Catherine Pugh”.
PINAC News reported on how an investigation into Pugh began in February 2017 based on accusations she used her children’s books as a ruse to raise money for her mayoral campaign and a new house.
The health insurance company Kaiser Permanente paid Pugh $114,000 for copies of her books from 2015 to 2018. In September 2017, the city’s spending board, which Pugh controlled, awarded Kaiser a $48 million contract for insurance for city employees.
Pugh’s case never went to trial because she plead guilty in November 2019.
At the 2020 sentencing hearing, United States District Judge Deborah Chasnow said this concerning Pugh’s crimes:
“This wasn’t a tiny mistake. This became a very large fraud.”
Over 70 people wrote letters to Judge Chasanow on Pugh’s behalf that included pastors and political leaders. Pugh apologized and accepted responsibility for her actions.
Pugh was first elected to the Baltimore City Council in 1999 and won a seat in the Maryland Senate in 2007. Pugh served as the 50th mayor of Baltimore from 2016 to 2019.