Ex-Chief of Staff for Maryland's Larry Hogan Accused of Misusing $280K in State Funds

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's ex-chief of staff was indicted on charges of misusing nearly $280,000 state funds by defrauding a state agency he led, the Maryland U.S. attorney announced Tuesday.

Roy McGrath induced the Maryland Environmental Service agency to pay him the money in mostly severance pay before he moved to his post in the governor's office. He also used funds from the agency to pay a personal pledge to a museum and to pay tuition expenses for a class after he left his position as executive director, according to the indictment.

The indictment also said that McGrath recorded conversations with senior state officials without their consent and faces state charges.

"Our federal and state law enforcement team in Maryland will always hold accountable public officials who betray the public trust for their personal gain," Acting U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lenzner said in a statement. "Maryland residents should always demand honesty and integrity from those in government."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Gov. Larry Hogan
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's former chief of staff, Roy McGrath, was indicted on charges of defrauding a government agency he ran. Governor Hogan holds a news conference on the state's COVID-19 situation at the Maryland State Capitol on August 5 in Annapolis, Maryland. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

McGrath, of Naples, Florida, fraudulently obtained $276,731 from the environmental service, according to the indictment. He is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and a state court appearance in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, but no dates have been set.

The Baltimore Sun, which first reported the story, said McGrath wrote in an email that he had no comment on what he characterized as "political persecution." His attorney, Bruce Marcus, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

McGrath was appointed by Hogan to serve as executive director of the environmental agency in December 2016. The corporation owned by the state provides environmental services such as water and wastewater management and other services to state and local government agencies, federal government entities, and private clients.

The federal and state charges allege that from March 2019 through December 2020, McGrath personally enriched himself by using his positions of trust as the director and the chief of staff for the governor to get the agency to make payments to McGrath.

The indictment alleges that McGrath got the agency's board to approve paying him a $233,647 severance payment—equal to one year's salary—upon his departure by falsely telling them the governor was aware of and approved the payment.

When Hogan learned about the severance package and questioned McGrath about it, McGrath falsely told him that the board of directors had offered him the severance payment in accordance with its usual practice, the indictment said.

If convicted of the federal charges, McGrath faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each of four counts of wire fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for each of two counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits.