News, Politics

Former Baltimore mayor sentenced to 3 years in prison

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

Judge orders her to pay $669,000 in restitution

 

Because of events over the last several years, it seems as though the Baltimore mayor’s office is a gateway to prison or probation.

Catherine Elizabeth Pugh, “Charm City’s” 50th mayor, and its third black woman mayor, was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to fraud and tax evasion. Pugh also was ordered to pay $669,000 in restitution.

She was charged with hiding the profits from bulk sales of her children’s book “Healthy Holly: Exercising Is Fun!”

The federal indictment charged that in 2016, Pugh claimed her income was $31,000 and the tax due was $4,168, when, in fact, Pugh taxable income was $322, 365 with income tax due of approximately $102, 444. Pugh pled guilty to fraud and tax evasion charges. She used the money from the book sales for her mayoral campaign and to buy a new house.

At sentencing, Judge Deborah Chasanow said Pugh’s actions weren’t simply a lapse in judgement. “This became a very large fraud,” Chasanow said.

Before the sentencing, Pugh, 69, made a 13-minute video in which she apologized. “I really messed up,” she said. Her attorney described her as a “broken woman.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicted Pugh November 14, 2019 and the indictment was unsealed November 20, 2019.

A judge swore Pugh into office on December 6, 2016. She resigned May 2, 2019.

Pugh’s resignation follows that of Sheila Ann Dixon, Baltimore’s 48th mayor, and the first black woman to hold the city’s top-elected office.

Dixon was elected in November 2007, but resigned on December 1, 2009, after a jury found her guilty of fraudulent misappropriation. She was sentenced to probation, holding on to her $81,000 annual pension.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake became Baltimore’s 49th mayor and the city’s third black woman mayor when Dixon resigned on February 4, 2010.

She won the 2011 Democratic primary and the general election in November 2011.

Rawlings -Blake served as mayor from January 22, 2013, to February 25, 2017. She announced in 2016 that she would not seek re-election.

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