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Marilyn Mosby indicted for perjury, false mortgage applications

Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby speaks during a Tuesday news conference.
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Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby speaks during a 2021 news conference.

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements on mortgage applications.

Federal investigators allege Mosby, 41, used money from COVID-related loans to purchase two vacation homes in Florida. They say the Democrat falsely claimed under penalty of perjury that she experienced adverse financial consequences from the pandemic in order to withdraw money from her city retirement account under relaxed restrictions.

Usually, those 457(b) plans, which are exclusive to state and local employees, cannot be touched until an employee leaves their job. The 2020 CARES Act allowed Baltimore City employees to make withdrawals from this type of retirement account if the pandemic affected their income.

According to charging documents, Mosby in May 2020 requested a one-time withdrawal of $40,000 from her city retirement account, falsely certifying under penalty of perjury that she had experienced financial hardship as a result of “being quarantined, furloughed or laid off,” “having reduced work hours,” “being unable to work due to lack of child care” or “the closing of reduction of hours of a business I own or operate.”

In fact, her 2020 salary was nearly $248,000 and was unaffected by the pandemic. “Rather than experiencing a reduction in income in 2020, Mosby’s gross salary in 2020 increased over her gross salary in 2019, which was $238,772.04,” charging documents say.

Mosby received $36,000 in withdrawal money and put it toward a down payment for a vacation home in Kissimmee, Fla. The indictment alleges that she lied in order to lower the mortgage’s interest rate: she purportedly told lenders it would serve as a second home, but a week earlier had signed an agreement with a vacation home management company to list the property for short-term rentals.

Mosby also allegedly lied to mortgage lenders about tax liabilities. The IRS filed a $45,022 lien against her in March 2020 for unpaid back taxes, but she did not disclose in the September 2020 application that she owed significant amounts of federal taxes nor that she was delinquent.

She purchased the Kissimmee home for a total of $545,000 in September 2020. It served as a rental property until she sold it in November 2021 for a $150,000 profit.

Prosecutors say that months later, she paid for another vacation home using another COVID-related loan.

In December 2020, she requested a one-time withdrawal of $50,000 from her city retirement account, again citing the relaxed CARES Act withdrawal restrictions.

She received $45,000 and put it toward a second vacation home, a condominium, in Longboat Key, Fla. In her mortgage application, Mosby again failed to disclose to lenders that she was delinquent in federal taxes. She purchased the condo for $476,000 in February 2021.

A count of perjury holds a maximum of five years in person; a count of making a false statement on a loan application holds a maximum of 30 years in prison.

Mosby and her attorney A. Scott Bolden did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Bolden told the Baltimore Sun that federal prosecutors have a personal grudge against Mosby.

“We will fight these charges vigorously, and I remain confident that once all the evidence is presented, that she will prevail against these bogus charges — charges that are rooted in personal, political and racial animus five months from her election,” he told the newspaper in a statement.

She and her husband, City Council President Nick Mosby, have been under federal investigation since at least February 2021, when the FBI issued subpoenas tied to their financial records.

The probe began after a city investigation into her travel by Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming. Mosby requested the investigation herself, after she was criticized for failing to clear travel paid for by third parties, such as nonprofits, with Baltimore’s spending board. Cumming’s OIG report faulted her, but City Solicitor Jim Shea said in a legal opinion that the city’s policy on third party travel funding was unclear.

The Mosbys’ allies have since slammed the OIG and federal probes into the couple.

Mosby was elected as Baltimore’s top prosecutor in 2014. She charged police officers for the 2015 death of Freddie Gray, which expanded her national profile as a self-described progressive prosecutor; those charges were dropped in 2016.

The Democrat was reelected to a second term in 2018. She is up for reelection this cycle.

This story has been updated.

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.