NATIONAL NEWS

Indicted aide to former Maryland governor misses court date

Mar 13, 2023, 9:07 AM | Updated: 11:30 am

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A federal judge issued an arrest warrant on Monday for Roy McGrath, the one-time aide to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, after McGrath failed to appear in court as his trial on federal fraud charges was set to begin.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Boardman issued the arrest warrant in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Monday morning. McGrath had an arraignment scheduled for 9 a.m. in a superseding indictment in his federal case. Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday morning. The judge ended up excusing the jurors and the case has been postponed, said McGrath’s attorney, Joseph Murtha.

Murtha said he spoke to McGrath late Sunday afternoon or early evening, and they had “a substantively productive conversation.” Murtha said he anticipated seeing his client at the courthouse at 8:45 a.m. Monday, but McGrath did not arrive.

“I have no further information,” Murtha said in a telephone interview. “I really do hope that he’s safe. I was shocked, quite honestly.”

McGrath, who had moved to Naples, Florida, faces an eight-count federal indictment. Charges include wire fraud, including securing a $233,648 severance payment equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland Environmental Service. He also faces fraud and embezzlement charges connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses. McGrath has pleaded not guilty.

McGrath did not return cellphone calls or emails Monday morning.

McGrath resigned in August 2020 when he was just 11 weeks into the job as Hogan’s chief of staff, after the payments became public.

McGrath was appointed by Hogan to serve as executive director of the environmental agency in December 2016. The corporation owned by the state provides environmental services such as water and wastewater management and other services to state and local government agencies, federal government entities, and private clients.

The federal and state charges allege that from March 2019 through December 2020, McGrath personally enriched himself by using his positions of trust as the director and the chief of staff for the governor to get the agency to make payments to himself.

The indictment alleges McGrath got the agency’s board to approve paying him a $233,648 severance payment — equal to one year’s salary — upon his departure by falsely telling them the governor was aware of and approved the payment.

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.

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Indicted aide to former Maryland governor misses court date