Baltimore’s Former Top Prosecutor Spared Prison for Mortgage Fraud and Perjury

Baltimore’s Former Top Prosecutor Spared Prison for Mortgage Fraud and Perjury
Marilyn Mosby at day one of Genius Talks, sponsored by AT&T, during the 2017 BET Experience at Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles on June 24, 2017. (Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BET)

GREENBELT, Md.—A former top prosecutor for the city of Baltimore was spared prison time in her sentence Thursday for perjury and mortgage fraud.

Former State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s sentence includes 12 months of home confinement, 100 hours of community service, and three years of supervised release.

After the sentencing hearing, Ms. Mosby hugged her supporters, some of whom applauded when the judge announced the sentence.

“I’m just so incredibly grateful,” Ms. Mosby told dozens of supporters outside the courthouse. “This is not over, but God was here today.”

Ms. Mosby was convicted of lying about her finances to make early withdrawals from retirement funds during the COVID-19 pandemic, and fraudulently claiming that her own $5,000 was a gift from her then-husband as she closed on a Florida condominium.

Ms. Mosby, 44, has maintained her innocence. She declined to address U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby before learning her sentence. Her lawyers said they would appeal her conviction and sentence while they seek a presidential pardon,

It’s a sad day for Ms. Mosby and her family, the judge told Ms. Mosby. “It’s also a sad day for the city of Baltimore,” said Judge Griggsby, adding that Ms. Mosby displayed a “pattern of dishonesty” while serving in a public office.

She also noted that her crimes didn’t involve any taxpayer money and said the prospect of separating Ms. Mosby from her two young daughters “weighed very heavily” on her decision.

Judge Griggsby questioned Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Delaney when he argued for a 20-month sentence. “Are there victims and who are they?” she asked.

“It’s a good question, your honor,” Mr. Delaney responded. “I get it. This isn’t an embezzlement case.”

Mr. Delaney said it harms the public when a public official lies under oath: “All citizens are victims when their public officials lie,” he said.

Mr. Delaney also denied claims by Ms. Mosby’s supporters that she is a victim of selective prosecution and said she has repeatedly lied about the case and prosecutors’ handling of it.

“These lies demonstrate that Marilyn Mosby is unremorseful, that she has no regard for the truth,” Mr. Delaney said.

James Wyda, one of Ms. Mosby’s attorneys, argued that Ms. Mosby is “in a category of one,” a unique case.

“This is not a public corruption case,” he said. “There was no financial loss to any victim.”

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Ms. Mosby withdrew $90,000 from Baltimore city’s deferred compensation plan and used it to make down payments on vacation homes in Kissimmee and Longboat Key, Florida.

Prosecutors argued that Ms. Mosby improperly accessed the funds under provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act by falsely claiming that the pandemic had harmed her travel-oriented side business.

In court documents, Ms. Mosby’s lawyers argued that the retirement funds came from her own income and that no one was defrauded because she paid an early withdrawal penalty and all federal taxes on the money. The government said that money remained the property of the city until she was legally eligible, and her perjury harmed everyone who followed the rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms. Mosby’s mortgage fraud conviction stems from a $5,000 “gift letter” she submitted when taking a loan to buy the Longboat Key property. Prosecutors said the letter falsely stated that Ms. Mosby’s husband was giving her a $5,000 gift for the closing when it actually was her own money.

“Without the gift letter, the loan would never have been provided and Ms. Mosby would not have obtained the property. No gift letter, no loan,” prosecutors wrote.

Federal prosecutors also said she deserves prison because unlike others convicted of white-collar crimes, she’s expressed no remorse or contrition and has tried to delegitimize the case against her.

“Ms. Mosby was charged and convicted because she chose to repeatedly break the law, not because of her politics or policies,” prosecutors wrote.

Ms. Mosby’s attorneys urged the judge to spare her from prison. They said she is the only public official who has been prosecuted in Maryland for federal offenses “that entail no victim, no financial loss, and no use of public funds.”

“Jail is not justice for Marilyn Mosby,” her lawyers wrote.

Several of Ms. Mosby’s supporters, including two of her siblings, urged the judge to show leniency.

“We need Marilyn Mosby in our community. We need her experience, her knowledge, her training,” said J. Wyndal Gordon, a criminal defense attorney who has known Ms. Mosby for a decade. He said Ms. Mosby was prosecuted for crimes that have “no real victim” and were unrelated to her public office.

“We’re here because they weren’t satisfied that they found nothing when they investigated her,” Mr. Gordon said.

Mosby applied for a presidential pardon earlier this month. In a letter to President Joe Biden, the Congressional Black Caucus expressed support for her cause.

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