Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiracy and tax evasion charges, admitting wrongdoing to a scheme tied to the sale of her self-published children's books.
She faces up to 20 years for a wire fraud conspiracy charge, five years for a conspiracy to defraud the U.S. charge, and five years for each of two tax evasion charges, according to a statement from federal prosecutors in Maryland, which noted that actual sentences are typically lower than the maximum.
She is on supervised release.
The statement said that Pugh admitted to conspiring with aide Gary Brown to defraud book purchasers in order to enrich themselves, boost Pugh’s political career, and fund her mayoral campaign among other wrongdoing.
Pugh's lawyer Steven Silverman told The Baltimore Sun in a statement that it has been a "challenging process" for the former mayor.
"After careful consideration of the charges brought against her, Ms. Pugh has decided to forego a long trial," Silverman added. "Such a trial would drain essential government resources and cause further distraction from the serious issues our region faces. Ms. Pugh sincerely apologizes to all of those that she let down, most especially the citizens of Baltimore whom she had the honor to serve in multiple capacities for decades."
She resigned from her post as mayor in May following raids on both city hall and her home. She began facing scrutiny after The Baltimore Sun reported the University of Maryland Medical Center had paid $500,000 to purchase children’s books she wrote during a period when was on the center’s board.
“Catherine Pugh betrayed the public trust for her personal gain,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in the Thursday statement. “Baltimore City faces many pressing issues, and we need dedication and integrity from our leaders—not corruption—in order to solve them.”