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Oaks pleads guilty to fraud charges

Rachel Baye

Former State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks pleaded guilty to two wire fraud charges Thursday morning, two hours after resigning his seat representing West Baltimore. The 71-year-old Democrat had been scheduled to stand trial in about two weeks.

As part of the plea agreement, Federal Judge Richard Bennett dismissed the eight remaining fraud, bribery and obstruction of justice charges and scheduled a sentencing hearing in July. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Oaks did not respond to several reporters’ questions following the hearing.

In court, Oaks admitted to accepting more than $15,000 in 2016 in exchange for using his position — at the time in the House of Delegates — to secure federal and state funds for a development project. Oaks believed the man paying him was a developer from Texas. He was actually an FBI informant.

In exchange for the cash, Oaks wrote letters on House of Delegates letterhead to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development making false claims in an effort to secure grant money. He also sponsored a bond bill in the legislature to get state funding for the project.

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