Government Corruption

Democrat Mayor Panics, Resigns as FBI Closes In [UPDATED]

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ICYMI … The Democrats have been DIRTY since their days with the KKK … ⚠️UPDATED⚠️

Yes, the original story is from a little while back … HOWEVER, make sure you read the UPDATE below the original story ….

Democratic Mayor of Baltimore Catherine Pugh announced her resignation on Thursday as both state and federal investigations into claims that she “used bulk sales of her self-published children’s book ‘Healthy Holly’ to disguise kickbacks,” according to Fox News.

Pugh’s announcement of her resignation, which has immediately taken effect, comes after weeks of scrutiny for the first-term mayor.

Pugh’s lawyer Steven Silverman read a statement aloud from his client who said, “Sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and to the credibility of the office of the mayor. Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move our great city forward.”

Fox News reports:

Calls for Pugh to resign had intensified in the past few days. Instead of making a decision, though, Pugh stayed holed up inside her three-story home for nearly a month. Her lawyers said she was too fragile to make a decision but residents and members of her own party grew weary of her open-ended retreat and demanded she either step up or step aside.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan also joined the chorus of calls for Pugh to resign and has asked the state prosecutor to investigate allegations of “self-dealing” by Pugh.

Hogan and the chairwoman of the state’s Democratic Party said Pugh made the right decision on Thursday.

Hogan sent out a tweet which stated, “This was the right decision, as it was clear the mayor could no longer lead effectively. The federal and state investigations must and will continue to uncover the facts.” He also tweeted, “Baltimore City can now begin to move forward. The state pledges its full support to incoming Mayor Jack Young and to cit6y leaders during this time of transition.”

Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings stated that Pugh’s resignation will allow the city of Baltimore the “opportunity to address its challenges with courage and optimism.”

Fox reports:

Late last month, federal investigators seized records from Pugh’s City Hall office and two of her homes as well as a nonprofit tied to her. Authorities also searched the apartment of one of Hugh’s former top aides, purportedly looking for financial records about a children’s book she wrote and then sold to health care companies with ties to the city.

The “Healthy Holly” book scandal has consumed Maryland’s largest city, which is facing a number of different problems including a soaring crime rate and an illegal drug problem.

UPDATE

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh Pleads Guilty To Federal Conspiracy And Tax Charges

Baltimore, Maryland – Department of Justice –  Catherine Elizabeth Pugh, age 69, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to the federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of tax evasion.  U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow has scheduled sentencing for February 27, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Kelly R. Jackson of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.

“Catherine Pugh betrayed the public trust for her personal gain,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Baltimore City faces many pressing issues, and we need dedication and integrity from our leaders—not corruption—in order to solve them.  Law enforcement will continue to be vigilant for evidence of fraud and corruption, to ensure that our citizens receive the honesty and professionalism they deserve from government officials.”

“The people of Maryland expect elected officials to make decisions based on the public’s best interests, not to abuse their office for personal gain,” said Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone of the FBI’s Baltimore Division.  “Catherine Pugh betrayed the public’s trust.  The FBI will continue to diligently work to detect fraud and corruption and hold those who violate this trust accountable.”

“For over 100 years, IRS Criminal Investigation has been committed to enforcing our nation’s tax laws.  This case should serve as an example to the public that everyone will be held to the same standard when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes.” Said Kelly Jackson, IRS Special Agent in Charge, Washington D.C. Field Office. “IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice those who endeavor to evade taxes, especially those elected to serve the public.”

According to her plea agreement, from approximately 2007 through 2016 Pugh served in the Maryland State Senate, where she served on various legislative committees, including the Senate Health Committee.  In 2011, Pugh ran an unsuccessful campaign to be mayor of Baltimore.  In September 2015, Pugh again ran for mayor of Baltimore, and won, becoming Mayor on December 6, 2016.  Pugh owned Healthy Holly, LLC, a company formed in Maryland on January 14, 2011, and used to publish and sell children’s books she had written.  Pugh also owned Catherine E. Pugh and Company, Inc., a marketing and public relations consulting company organized in Maryland in 1997.  The principal address for both companies was Pugh’s residence in Baltimore.  Pugh was also the sole signatory on the Healthy Holly and Pugh Company bank accounts.  Pugh did not maintain a personal bank account, using her business bank accounts for personal and business finances.

Between June 2011 and August 2017, four Healthy Holly books were published, with each book listing “Catherine Pugh” as author.  The vast majority of books published by Healthy Holly were marketed and sold directly to non-profit organizations and foundations, many of whom did business or attempted to do business with the Maryland and Baltimore City governments.

From approximately 2011 until December 2016, Gary Brown, Jr. worked as a legislative aide to Pugh.  Brown actively campaigned for Pugh’s reelection to the State Senate in 2014 and served as her campaign aide during her 2016 mayoral election campaign.  Following Pugh’s election and inauguration as mayor of Baltimore City in December 2016, Brown was hired as the Deputy Director of Special Events in the mayor’s office.  In December 2016, Brown was nominated by the Maryland Democratic Central Committee to fill the vacancy in the Maryland House of Delegates created by Pugh’s mayoral victory.  However, the Governor withdrew Brown’s nomination after he was indicted for election law violations in January 2017.

Brown was the sole owner and operator of Stricker Abstracting, LLC, and GB Abstracting, LLC, both Maryland companies that purported to be title-abstracting businesses, and GBJ Consulting, LLC, a Maryland consulting business.  Brown ran all three companies from his residences in Baltimore.  Brown also freelanced as a tax return preparer.  Between March 2011 until March 2019, Brown helped Pugh promote and sell the Healthy Holly books.  Brown oversaw the transportation and storage of the books, drafted invoices, and corresponded with purchasers.  Much of Brown’s work on Healthy Holly occurred during work hours while serving as Pugh’s legislative aide and mayoral staff member.  Brown was not an employee of Healthy Holly and received no salary or compensation until approximately mid-2016 when he started to get sales commissions.  None of his companies received compensation for services purportedly provided to Healthy Holly.

Wire Fraud

Pugh admitted that from November 2011 until March 2019, she conspired with Gary Brown to defraud purchasers of Healthy Holly books in order to enrich themselves, promote Pugh’s political career, and fund her campaign for mayor.  Pugh and Brown admitted that they employed several methods to defraud, including: not delivering books after accepting payments for the books; accepting payments for books to be delivered to a third party on behalf of a purchaser, then converting some or all of the purchased books to their own use without the purchaser’s or third party’s knowledge; and by double-selling books without either purchaser’s knowledge or consent.  Pugh stored quantities of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books at various locations, including Pugh’s residence, her state legislative offices, her mayoral office, the War Memorial building in Baltimore City, and a public storage locker used by Pugh’s mayoral campaign.

Specifically, Pugh admitted that she sold approximately 20,000 each of Healthy Holly books one, two, and three to the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) for $100,000 each.  UMMS agreed to the purchase on the condition that it be on behalf of, and for distribution to, school children in the Baltimore City Public School system (BCPS), in part, to further the mission of UMMS’s community outreach program.  As part of the agreement Pugh was to deliver the donated books to BCPS.

As detailed in her plea agreement, Pugh did not deliver the full 20,000 Healthy Holly books one, two, and three that UMMS purchased to BCPS, instead keeping some of the books for herself.  In addition, Pugh sold to unwitting purchasers copies of Healthy Holly books one, two, and three that had already been sold to UMMS and donated to BCPS.  Pugh used Associated Black Charities, a Baltimore-based public charity, to facilitate the resale and distribution of the books to new purchasers.  Neither the charity nor the new purchasers knew that Pugh was double-selling the books.  Pugh also accepted payment for books that were never delivered to the purchaser.

Conspiracy to Defraud the United States/Tax Evasion

Pugh further admitted that she used the proceeds of the sale of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books for her own purposes, including: to fund straw donations to Pugh’s mayoral election campaign; and to fund the purchase and renovation of a house in Baltimore City.

Specifically, Pugh issued Healthy Holly checks payable to Brown, for the purpose of funding straw donations to the Committee to Elect Catherine Pugh.  Brown cashed the checks and used the untraceable cash to fund money orders, debit cards, and personal checks in the names of straw donors totaling approximately $35,800.  The straw donations purchased with the cash were then deposited into the bank account of the Committee to Elect Catherine Pugh.  Pugh wrote additional Healthy Holly checks to Brown totaling $26,300, which he cashed and gave the cash to Pugh.  In total, Brown and Pugh cashed out approximately $62,100 of Healthy Holly checks during 2016, all of which went to straw donors or Pugh.  To conceal the scheme, Brown and Pugh created the pretense of a legitimate business relationship between Brown and Healthy Holly.  In furtherance of the pretense, Pugh and Brown signed an independent contractor agreement between Healthy Holly and GBJ Consulting, and Brown created a business ledger that misrepresented the Healthy Holly checks as payments for promotion services rendered by Brown’s company on behalf of Healthy Holly.  At Pugh’s urging, Brown also created bogus GB Consulting invoices and backdated them.

On January 11, 2017, Brown was charged with, and ultimately convicted of, violating Maryland’s election laws for funneling $18,000 of the straw donations to Pugh’s campaign. The Committee to Elect Catherine Pugh issued five checks in the names of three of the straw donors, with a notation in the memo line on each check stating “returned contribution.” In fact, Pugh acknowledges that none of the straw donors received any of the returned money, and instead, at Pugh’s direction, Brown used the money to pay for his legal defense in the state election-law prosecution, a case that had legal implications for Pugh.

Pugh also admitted that she conspired to evade taxes on the income received from the sales of Healthy Holly books.  To accomplish this, Pugh concealed from the IRS the fact that she created false business expenses to offset the income she received from the sale of books by issuing Healthy Holly checks to Brown for services and/or products purportedly supplied by his company.  Pugh filed false income tax returns for 2015 and 2016, in which she underreported her income.  For example, for tax year 2016 Pugh claimed her taxable income was $31,020 and the tax due was $4,168, when in fact, Pugh’s taxable income was $322,365, with an income tax due of approximately $102,444.

Pugh faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud conspiracy; five years in federal prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States; and five years in federal prison for each of the two counts of tax evasion.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.  Pugh remains released on conditions under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.

Former Baltimore City employees Gary Brown, Jr., age 38, of Baltimore, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, to two counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States, and to filing a false tax return.  No sentencing date has been set.

United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation and thanked the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations – Labor Racketeering and Fraud, the Maryland State Prosecutor’s Office, and the Baltimore City Office of Inspector General for their assistance.  Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martin J. Clarke and Leo J. Wise, who are prosecuting the case.

About Beltway Staff

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depaz August 6, 2021
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Can you please just stick to CURRENT news???  This story is a couple of years old.  SHE'S IN JAIL!!!
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Lisa August 6, 2021
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WOW, just wow...I am SO glad that these corrupt dems are getting caught, they need to be given the maximum sentence to deter other corrupt minded individuals (dems), they should be held to a higher standard...GIVE HER THE MAXIMUM sentence
Babsan August 6, 2021
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Really folks!She is a typical Black Democrat,many more still on the taxpayers rools and doing ZERO for their constituents
Patrick Hayes August 5, 2021
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Had to laugh when this Democrat apologized for the damage she did to the image of Baltimore. She apparently doesn't get out much or ever speak to anyone on law enforcement. The image of Baltimore for the entire time it has been run by Democrats is of a city that is filthy, lawless and corrupt. I'm in law enforcment and no one I now would ever want to work in Baltimore. The ones in federal law enforcement who were transferred against this pathetic excuse for a city did everything they could to leave as soon as possible.
Tim Toroian August 5, 2021
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If too frail to make a decision what in Blue Blazes why was she running a city. It's similar to the Representatives claiming therapy after January 6th. If they are that fragile what in Hell are they doing in the national House of Representatives Steve Scalice actually got shot Pete's sake!
wboehmer June 27, 2021
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"Her lawyers said she was too fragile to make a decision." So, I'm supposed to take it that SHE"S the victim here?
Babsan June 26, 2021
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Typical Democrat
glenn398 June 26, 2021
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She sure didn't waste any time milking the tax payers. Though democrats had a school on how to mike the public and get away with it. 
Sunshine Kid June 25, 2021
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Why do politicians think they are above the law?  The should be held to the same standard that the courts hold YOU if you lie to the court.  They should be charged with lying to the public, and make that a felony that would not allow them to ever hold office.
Tim June 25, 2021
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Catherine Pugh resigned a year before COVID.  Do you have any  NEWS  ?   Baltimore is a dung heap.  300  homocides a year isn't  news, anymore. Every time police "trayvon" a criminal, they name a street after the thug.  By the time they rename  ALL  the city streets, Baltimore will be a pretty nice place to live.  I  got out .  Moved north, across the Mason-Dixon Line.  
ONLYJB1 June 25, 2021
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They won't do anything to her. First, she's Black. Second, she's a female. Lastly, she's a communist dem. She's totally safe from prosecution. 
Don Sherwood June 25, 2021
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Are there ANY POLITICIANS in Baltimore (or Maryland) that are not CROOKED?  There certrainly haven't been any of note elected in Baltimore for a very long time.  It is loony citizens or just the CORRUPT DEMOCRAT PARTY?
Sasha Royale June 25, 2021
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June 24, 2021. -- This happened more than two years agow.  Someone's editor should be fired.
Swave n deBoner June 25, 2021
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She was elected because she was the closest contender for mayor to her constituency, a lying, cheating, stealing Democrat from the side of Darkness. 
Nicolas P Cignetti June 25, 2021
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So, they think another democrat taking her place will solve the problem?
John F Edwards June 25, 2021
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I totally agree with Ruth and Fred Brown. The attached statement from Gov. Larry Hogan is dated May 2, 2019. If it isn't current news why are you bothering to report it as such? If you simply want to take up space find another job. If we wanted a history lesson we can simply look it up. Sorry but it appears you are becoming just another FAKE news outlet.
Lisa June 25, 2021
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no more slap of the wrists, it is time to seriously jail these people...MAKE EXAMPLES OUT OF THEM, you listening corrupt, lying dems?
Mark March 8, 2021
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Just like any Democrat run city. Lying stealing ghetto people. Why is is when people of color are in charge, there's always corruption. And they are always innocent? Until they get caught, than its trumps fault
Ruth March 8, 2021
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This happened back in 2019. Why are you reporting this as current news?
Allen March 8, 2021
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Just because she quit don’t stop investigating her. Don’t let her off the hook. Tired of these liberal politicians getting away with the law. Enough.
Shirley March 8, 2021
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When are they going after so called Mayor DeBlazio in NY for the same type of problems involving his wife and millions of dollars missing.
Chastran February 13, 2021
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The Dumbascrap Party cabal of corruptocrats represent scum of the earth...
Babsan February 13, 2021
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One more corrupt Democrat down,keep going,many more still walking around
Fred Brown February 13, 2021
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Wake up folks! Pugh resigned almost two years ago, in May of 2019! Recycling old news ain't cool!
ONLYJB1 February 12, 2021
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Is this the new normal? Once you are caught, you resign and all is well? B.S.! Resignation does not remove the crime. Ask yourself, what is going on? Why are we allowing this to happen? Case in point. I steal 1.2 million dollars from the tax payers. Now the law is moving in on me. I resign from my position. RIGHT? WRONG! I am still guilty of the crime and deserve the extent of the law! PERIOD! Wake up people.
Poggy May 3, 2019
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she can and must be charged with the crimes she was/is involved in.