Former Baltimore Mayor Looking at Long Prison Sentence

News outlets have reported that former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been indicted on  charges involving fraud, federal tax evasion and illegally boosting her political campaign in conjunction with a series of children’s books she recently published.

Pugh is accused of selling hundreds of thousands of dollars for copies of her Healthy Holly books to a health care company whose board she sat on while serving as a Maryland state senator. After she was paid, thousands of the books never surfaced.

The 11-count federal indictment states that Pugh formed a company whose only goal was to receive kickbacks disguised as sales of the books, which tell the stories of a young African American girl who promotes the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

The sales from the non-existent books were illegally channeled to her political campaign through a straw company, and was used for personal gain, including a home. For the tax year 2016, Pugh claimed her taxable income was $31,020 and the tax due was $4,168. However, her taxable income was actually $322,365, and she approximately owed $102,444.

The federal government is hoping to seize a house owned by Pugh valued at $770,000. Meanwhile, Pugh’s attorney claims that she is physically and mentally unable to make “major decisions.” If convicted, she could serve up to one hundred years in prison.