Ex-Baltimore Mayor Gets Three Years In Prison For Children's Book Scam

Ex-Baltimore mayor pleads guilty to conspiracy, tax evasion in book scheme

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges. Prosecutors said that Pugh used the sales of her children's book, Healthy Holly, to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. The money was deposited into her campaign accounts and then used to buy and renovate a new house.

Pugh was also ordered to pay restitution of $400,000 to the University of Maryland Medical System and $12,000 to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund and must forfeit $670,000 from her campaign accounts.

Pugh apologized for her actions in a 13-minute video played in the courtroom.

"I just want to apologize to the citizens, to young people, to partners, my friends — everyone I've offended, everyone I've hurt and the city's image, by pleading guilty and being a part of all of this that had led me here today," Pugh said. "It's created such a ringing negativity on our city. And I know better who I am. But also I know here I am right now. And I accept responsibility. I accept total responsibility. I've pleaded guilty, and I'm sorry."

The video also touted some of her accomplishments as mayor, which did not impress U.S. District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow.

"It is astounding, and I have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense. This was not a tiny mistake, lapse of judgment. This became a very large fraud. The nature and circumstances of this offense clearly, I think, are extremely, extremely serious," she said.

After Pugh's prison term is finished, she will have to serve three years of supervised release.

Photo: Getty Images

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