The hunt is on for Maryland gov’s missing former chief of staff, FBI raids his home
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff is on the run from the law.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals issued a wanted poster for Roy McGrath, a former Hogan staffer who’s been “accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars while working for a state agency,” according to ABC News.
“McGrath was charged in 2021 and 2022 with wire fraud, embezzlement and falsifying documents stemming from his time running the state-owned Maryland Environmental Service, a position to which he was appointed by Hogan before becoming a top gubernatorial aide, federal prosecutors have said,” ABC News reported.
According to prosecutors, he allegedly falsified documents while at the Maryland Environmental Service to collect hundreds of thousands in unearned money.
For example, federal prosecutors reportedly said last year that he “caused the MES Board of Directors to approve paying [him] 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.”
Hogan has denied knowing anything about the payment.
“He also allegedly submitted false time sheets and allegedly attempted to delete documentation from a board of directors meeting about his compensation,” according to ABC News.
The U.S. Marshals said in a tweet that they’re now looking “to apprehend” him because he failed to turn up for a required court appearance on Monday:
@USMSBaltimore has initiated an interstate fugitive investigation. It is now seeking to apprehend the former Maryland governor’s top aide after he failed to appear in court on Monday, March 13. If you have information on his whereabouts, submit a tip here: https://t.co/6CHEjjXMQi pic.twitter.com/cGQ3VQ0boG
— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) March 14, 2023
His attorney, Joseph Murtha, is at a complete loss. He told the Associated Press that he’d expected his client to fly from Florida, where he lives, to Maryland for court.
“I haven’t a clue. I didn’t see this coming. This behavior is so out of the ordinary for him. Obviously his personal safety is a concern,” he said.
He added that McGrath’s Florida property was raided on Wednesday. Incidentally, his client’s wife was home at the time, and she too appears to be at a loss.
“She seemed upset and bewildered,” Murtha told the AP.
Dovetailing back to all the money McGrath allegedly took, it was discovered a few months after he’d left. By that time, he’d already secured a position in Hogan’s office. But after the discovery, he reportedly resigned in disgrace.
“Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s chief of staff, Roy McGrath, resigned Monday, after the public revelation of a large payout he received from his previous job,” The Washington Post reported on Aug. 17th, 2020.
“McGrath’s short tenure as Hogan’s top aide began June 1, just days after the quasi-governmental agency he had previously led authorized a severance package for him equal to one year’s salary, which records show was more $230,000,” the Post read.
According to the Post, the unusual payment “sparked an inquiry from the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly,” both of whom were Democrats.
Ahead at 4,5,6,7 ➡️A raid on the Florida home of Roy McGrath as police continue to search for the former Hogan aide who failed to show up for his fraud trial. @wjz pic.twitter.com/yHRXedEbo9
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) March 15, 2023
At the time, Hogan accepted the resignation “with regret.”
“I recognize that this was a difficult decision for Roy, but I understand and respect his reasons for making this decision. I have always known Roy to be someone of the highest character, and I wish him well in his future endeavors,” he said.
Keep in mind, he said this a year before McGrath was charged. Yet even he tried to portray himself as a victim of a witch hunt.
“[T]his entire topic is simply the sad politics of personal destruction, and right now, we cannot afford unnecessary distractions from the critical work the governor and his team are doing. For this reason, I have advised the governor that I am exiting state service,” the embattled, then-outgoing chief of staff said.
A year later in October of 2021, he was finally charged.
At the time, he evidently had a different lawyer.
“Mr. McGrath vigorously and categorically denies any criminal conduct. He looks forward to clearing his good name and reputation at a trial on the merits,” his then-attorney, Bruce L. Marcus, said at the time, according to Maryland Matters.
Meanwhile, Hogan sang a completely different tune.
“Marylanders deserve to know that their public officials are held to the highest ethical standards. Over the last year, our office has actively assisted law enforcement in these ongoing investigations. As this case moves to the courts, we are confident that the justice system will uphold the public trust,” his then-spokesperson, Michael Ricci, said at the time.
It’s not clear what Hogan thinks about McGrath now absconding from justice …
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