Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was charged with wire fraud and tax evasion for allegedly abusing her office for significant financial gain, according to The Washington Post.
Pugh resigned in May after the details of a scheme spanning about 12 years that earned her hundreds of thousands of dollars for children's books purchased by organizations interested in doing business with the city of Baltimore.
"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 FBI special agent Jennifer Boone in a statement.
What is she accused of?
Pugh received $500,000 for 100,000 copies of her children's book, "Healthy Holly," beginning in 2011 when Pugh was a state senator. The books were purchased by the University of Maryland Medical System while Pugh sat on the hospital network's board and sat on a state Senate committee that partially funded it.
Kaiser Permanente also paid Pugh $100,000 while she was mayor, at the same time that Kaiser Permanente was trying to get a $48 million contract with a city board. From the Post:
Most of the books were marketed and sold directly to non-profit groups and foundations that did business or tried to get business with the state and city of Baltimore, prosecutors allege. Book sales were intended to enrich Pugh and a partner — including purchasing and renovating Pugh's home — and to "promote Pugh's political career, and run her campaign for mayor," according to prosecutors.
Pugh would allegedly store the books at her home and at her offices. She allegedly wrote "Healthy Holly checks" to a staffer who would then cash the checks and return the cash to Pugh as straw donations to her mayoral campaign.
The former mayor has been charged with seven counts of wire fraud, two counts of tax evasion, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.