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Former Hogan aide charged with fraud

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Roy McGrath (right) testifies before a state legislative panel in December 2020. Credit: YouTube

Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff, Roy McGrath, is facing criminal charges in both federal and state courts related to his time leading the Maryland Environmental Service, or MES.

McGrath faces six federal charges and 27 state charges related to his alleged efforts to defraud the state by using his position as MES executive director to enrich himself personally, according to the charging documents.

“From personal travel to even obtaining a certificate from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, McGrath’s alleged actions were self-serving and ultimately self-sabotaging,” Thomas Sobocinski, special agent in charge at the FBI Baltimore Field Office, said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors say McGrath submitted false timesheets while on vacation and used MES funds to fulfill a pledge to the Academy Art Museum in Easton, for which he sat on the museum’s board of directors.

Prosecutors accuse McGrath of defrauding MES when he falsely told the agency’s board that the governor knew about and approved of his request for a $233,647 severance package. At the time, McGrath was leaving the agency to work in Hogan’s office, where his salary was roughly the same as the one he had at MES.

McGrath left his post in Hogan’s office in August 2020, after The Baltimore Sun revealed details of the severance payment.

According to the documents, McGrath also committed fraud when he asked an employee at MES to pay and submit a reimbursement request for more than $14,000 in tuition at a program at the Harvard Kennedy School. The program occurred after McGrath left MES.

Meanwhile, the Office of the State Prosecutor says McGrath also illegally recorded private conversations with “senior state officials” without their knowledge.

“Mr. McGrath vigorously and categorically denies any criminal conduct,” Bruce Marcus, an attorney for McGrath, wrote in a statement. “He looks forward to clearing his good name and reputation at a trial on the merits.”

McGrath is expected to appear in both the U.S. District Court in Baltimore and the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, though no hearing dates are set.

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