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Baltimore senator charged with fraud

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State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks, who represents northwest Baltimore, was charged in U.S. District Court Friday of accepting cash in exchange for advancing a development project in the city.

Federal prosecutors say Oaks, who was in the House of Delegates until February, received $5,000 in exchange for using his position to help a developer secure public financing for a project in Baltimore and another $10,000 for letters of support on official House of Delegates letterhead. The letters misrepresented Oaks’ role in the project, according to court documents.

The legislator faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for honest services wire fraud.

Oaks has not resigned his legislative seat. He left before Friday’s floor votes, and Senate President Mike Miller suggested Oaks stay clear for the last day of the General Assembly session on Monday.

“I think it’s more important that he not be here, quite frankly, with these charges hanging over his head,” Miller said.

Oaks’ legislative office didn’t have additional information about the charges or know who his attorney is.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom. @RachelBaye