The disgraced former mayor of Baltimore was charged Wednesday with fraud and tax evasion involving sales of her self-published children's books to non-profits and foundations that did business with the government. An 11-count federal indictment accuses Catherine Pugh of arranging fraudulent sales of her “Healthy Holly” books to schools, libraries, and a medical system, reports the AP. Federal authorities say Pugh and two city employees double-sold the books or failed to deliver them to institutions they were purchased for, including the Baltimore City Public Schools. Pugh then allegedly used the proceeds to fund straw donations to her mayoral campaign and to renovate a house.
Pugh, who has been in seclusion since early April, is expected to surrender to US marshals ahead of her arraignment Thursday in Baltimore. She’ll appear before US District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and tax evasion. The grand jury indictment returned on Nov. 14 also charged two associates of Pugh, Gary Brown, Jr., and Roslyn Wedington, who have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax fraud. If convicted, Pugh faces up to 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count, and five years for each tax evasion count. The federal government also will seek to seize a house owned by Pugh and $770,000 as part of any sentence. (Read much more here.)