Former Baltimore mayor charged with wire fraud over ‘Wholesome Holly’ ebook gross sales


FILE PHOTO: Catherine Pugh, on the time state senator, is pictured talking close to Metropolis Corridor in Baltimore Might 2, 2015. Information/Sait Serkan Gurbuz/File photograph/File Photograph

BALTIMORE (Information) – Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was charged on Wednesday with wire fraud and tax evasion referring to gross sales of her self-published “Wholesome Holly” kids’s ebook to charities the place she labored, federal prosecutors stated.

The fees towards the Democrat and former state lawmaker relate to her dealings with the College of Maryland Medical System, the place she was a board member, and which paid her for her kids’s books.

Pugh, 69, who initially defended the association, known as it a “regrettable mistake” in March and resigned in Might.

Steven Silverman, Pugh’s lawyer, provided no remark and stated he would handle the matter in open courtroom on Thursday when the previous mayor is scheduled to seem.

Federal prosecutors charged Pugh with utilizing the proceeds of the ebook gross sales to fund straw donations to her mayoral election marketing campaign and in the direction of the acquisition and renovation of a home in Baltimore.

“It is a tragedy and the very last thing that our metropolis wants,” U.S. Lawyer Robert Hur stated at a information briefing. “There are various victims on this case. The victims are all of us…the individuals of Baltimore.”

Pugh was elected to a four-year time period as mayor in 2016 after gaining prominence as a state lawmaker throughout protests over the 2015 demise in police custody of a 25-year-old black man, Freddie Grey.

Pugh’s former legislative aide Gary Brown, who helped her promote and distribute the books, pleaded responsible to expenses together with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the indictment stated.

The previous mayor faces a most sentence of as much as 20 years for wire fraud if convicted.

Reporting by Donna Owens in Baltimore and Maria Caspani in New York; Modifying by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum