Baltimore’s former mayor, Catherine Pugh, has been indicted on 11 federal crimes, but has only pled guilty to 4 of the 11 counts. These charges, according to NPR (National Public Radio), includes conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government, along with two counts of tax evasion.
It was said by the Washington Post that she was “planning to illegally hide profits from the sales of her children’s books to enhance her political and personal fortune.”
Former Mayor Pugh ran for office under the pledge to restore integrity in Baltimore City, where corruption had taken over and violence was the only way to get things done.
“We need to be able to trust the people we put in power, especially in Baltimore City,” stated junior Alex Wendt.
On Thursday, Nov. 21, Pugh admitted to these allegations. She said that she had been running a sham business since 2011 that was used to sell her books that included taking parts of what her customers had paid or reselling books that had already been bought and not delivering them.
She also admitted to using $35,800 from book sales as illegal donations to her campaign for mayor and using some of it to purchase and renovate a house in Baltimore.
According to the Washington Post, there has been a three-year investigation into the sales of her “Healthy Holly” books that she began when she was still a state senator representing Baltimore.
In April, authorities searched Baltimore City Hall, Pugh’s home, and her non-profit organization for financial documents and information related to the $800,000 she was allegedly paid for the selling of her children’s book.
After these allegations were exposed, Pugh went into seclusion and in May, she resigned from her position as mayor, however, she did not show up for her own press conference where it was announced that this was happening.
She has been scheduled for a sentencing hearing on Feb. 27, 2020. According to NPR, the judge has recommended that she be sent to prison for 5 years for these acts.
“It is hard to understand why a person would do things like this, it is honestly disappointing to Maryland as a state.” stated Sophomore Lauren Vane.
According to the Washington Post, many residents of Baltimore hope that the city will be able to come back from this and continue to make Baltimore City a better place without Pugh as mayor.