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State Lawmaker Charged With Wire Fraud

Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun

A longtime member of the House of Delegates from Prince George’s County, Tawanna Gaines, has been charged with federal wire fraud. Gaines resigned from the legislature on Friday.

Prosecutors say Gaines collected more than $22,000 from campaign supporters in a PayPal account, then used that money on personal expenses. Gaines did not disclose the PayPal account in state campaign finance records.

If convicted, Gaines could serve up to 20 years in prison.

Gaines was appointed to fill a vacancy in the House of Delegates in 2001, winning election to the seat the following year.  Before that, she served as a council member, then mayor of the Town of Berwyn Heights.

Until she resigned on Friday, the 67-year-old was vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee and oversaw the Capital Budget Subcommittee.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones announced Gaines’ resignation in a written statement Monday morning.

“As elected officials, we have an obligation to uphold the public trust, both in office and in our campaigns,” she said. “We cannot sacrifice that trust for personal gain for ourselves or our family members.”

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