Danielle Wallace, Fox News, February 27, 2020
Catherine Pugh, a former mayor of Baltimore, was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday following her conviction on federal tax evasion and conspiracy charges related to the sale of her “Healthy Holly” books to help fund a political career, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Addressing the courtroom, Maryland’s U.S. District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow slammed material–including a 13-minute video released Wednesday–that touts Pugh’s past accomplishments and was submitted to the court before sentencing.
Chasanow described praising Pugh’s past good work as “ironic,” as “it was precisely that reputation for good work that allowed her to commit these offenses and continue the fraud for as long as she did,” the Baltimore Sun reported.
“It is astounding and I have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense. This was not a tiny mistake, lapse of judgment. This became a very large fraud. The nature and circumstances of this offense clearly I think are extremely, extremely serious,” the judge said.
Pugh was ordered to pay restitution of $400,000 to the University of Maryland Medical System and nearly $12,000 to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, which also purchased her books, the Baltimore Sun reported. The former mayor also must forfeit nearly $670,000 and $17,800 in her campaign account. All copies of “Healthy Holly” books in government custody will be destroyed.
Pugh, 69, pleaded guilty in November to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges in a deal with prosecutors, who asked the judge to impose a prison term of nearly five years. Attorneys for Pugh, who was elected mayor in 2016, had suggested a sentence of 366 days.
In the Wednesday video, Pugh apologizes for her crimes.
“I messed up. I really messed up,” the former mayor says in the video. “I accept total responsibility. I pled guilty and I’m sorry. I don’t know any other words that could be strong. I am so sorry.”