Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has been sentenced to three years in federal prison over federal fraud, tax and conspiracy charges.
We previously reported, Pugh pleaded guilty in November to federal charges related to her self-published children’s book series that allegedly paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars.
She was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of tax evasion.
Pugh, who became Baltimore’s 50th mayor on Dec. 6, 2016, faced a chorus of criticism and calls for her resignation after reports of the suspicious lucrative sales of her children’s book, “Healthy Holly.” Some of the money allegedly came from “entities she had political power to influence,” The Blaze writes.
Prosecutors believe she used funds from sales of her books to pay for her lifestyle in addition to her political campaign and political interests, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Pugh used the books as promotional materials during her 2016 mayoral run and the proceeds from their sale to pump illegal money into her campaign, prosecutors said, according to the Baltimore Sun. Pugh spent a total of $2.5 million on her campaign, easily outspending most of her rivals. According to prosecutors, at least part of the campaign cash came from illegal proceeds from Healthy Holly book sales. As a result, she managed a narrow victory in a crowded primary. What’s more, the people and organizations that pre-ordered the book never received the merchandise.
Pugh apologized to the residents in a video on the eve of her sentencing.
“First, I want to apologize to the citizens, to young people, to partners, to my friends, everyone I’ve offended, everyone I’ve hurt and the city’s image by pleading guilty and by being involved in all of this that has led me here today,” Pugh says in the video, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I accept responsibility. I accept total responsibility. I’ve plead guilty. I’m sorry.”