Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's former Chief of Staff indicted for fraud, illegal wiretapping

A former Chief of Staff for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has been indicted for allegedly fraudulently obtaining funds from Maryland Environmental Service corporation and illegally recording private conversations with senior Maryland state officials. 

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According to the six-count federal indictment filed Tuesday, Roy McGrath was appointed by Governor Hogan in 2016 to serve as Executive Director of Maryland Environmental Service (MES), a corporation owned by the State of Maryland to provide environmental services.

McGrath resigned from MES as of May 31, 2020, to become the Governor’s Chief of Staff effective as of June 1, 2020.

The federal and state charges allege that from March 2019 through December 2020, McGrath used his positions as the Executive Director of MES and the chief of staff for Governor Hogan to cause MES to make payments to McGrath, or on his behalf, to which he was not entitled. 

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"According to this indictment, Roy McGrath misappropriated public money for his own benefit. From personal travel to even obtaining a certificate from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, McGrath’s alleged actions were self-serving and ultimately self-sabotaging," said Thomas J. Sobocinski, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to rooting out public corruption and holding officials like him accountable."

The federal indictment and state criminal information specifically allege that McGrath caused MES funds to be paid to a museum where he was a member of the Board of Directors instead of using his personal funds to pay his pledge to the museum.

They also allege that McGrath caused the MES Board of Directors to approve paying McGrath a $233,647.23 severance payment—equal to one year’s salary—upon his departure from MES by falsely telling them that the Governor was aware of and approved the payment.

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The state criminal information also alleges that, during his tenure at MES and later as the Governor’s Chief of Staff, McGrath illegally recorded private conversations involving senior state officials without their permission,

"It is an honor and privilege to serve one’s community, and public officials are entrusted to place the interests of citizens above their own," said Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner. "Our federal and state law enforcement team in Maryland will always hold accountable public officials who betray the public trust for their personal gain. Maryland residents should always demand honesty and integrity from those in government, and hopefully this indictment offers the public some level of confidence that we are committed to prosecuting those who violate that trust."

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If convicted of the federal charges, McGrath faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each of four counts of wire fraud and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for each of two counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits.