FBI Raids Home of Ex-Maryland Governor’s Former Top Aide After No Show for Trial

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
March 17, 2023Politics
FBI Raids Home of Ex-Maryland Governor’s Former Top Aide After No Show for Trial
Roy McGrath, chief executive officer of the Maryland Environmental Service, speaks during a news conference at the State House in Annapolis, Md., on April 15, 2020. (Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

The FBI raided the home of Roy McGrath, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff after he failed to appear in Baltimore to stand trial on federal corruption charges.

The raid on McGrath’s home in Naples, Florida, was conducted on Wednesday morning. McGrath was found not to be there, but his wife was present as agents conducted the search, his attorney, Joseph Murtha, told the Associated Press.

Murtha said that he was surprised that his client didn’t show up at the trial on Monday.

“I haven’t a clue. I didn’t see this coming,” Murtha told the Washington Times. Murtha said that he had “a substantively productive conversation” about the trial with his client late Sunday.

McGrath was supposed to board a plane in Florida later that night.

Murtha added that he was unable to reach his client via cellphone or email. “This behavior is so out of the ordinary for him. Obviously, his personal safety is a concern,” the attorney said, reported the Associated Press.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Boardman issued an arrest warrant for McGrath after he failed to show up on Monday. The judge canceled the scheduled jury selection, and the prospected jurors were dismissed.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Marshals Service launched an interstate manhunt for McGrath, who received an eight-count federal indictment in 2021. A wanted poster was released as well.

NTD Photo
Roy McGrath, the former top aide to an ex-Maryland Governor, is seen in this U.S. Marshals Service wanted poster released on March 14, 2023, after McGrath failed to appear in court where he is charged with wire fraud and falsification. (U.S. Marshals Service/Handout via Reuters)

Federal and State prosecutors have accused McGrath of personally enriching himself by taking advantage of his positions of trust as the executive director of Maryland Environmental Service. The state-owned company provides environmental services, including water and wastewater management, to government entities and private partners.

Faces Fraud, Embezzlement Charges

Prosecutors accused McGrath of falsifying time sheets to claim he was at work while on two vacations in 2019. He allegedly used state funds for personal expenses and now faces fraud and embezzlement charges connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses.

In June 2020, McGrath left his position as executive director of Maryland Environmental Service to become Hogan’s chief of staff, upon which he then tricked the environmental agency’s board into approving a $233,648 severance payment—a year’s worth of salary—by falsifying a document to make it seem that the governor had already approved the payment, according to a grand jury indictment.

McGrath was 11 weeks on the job as Hogan’s chief of staff when the news of his unusual severance payment became public. He resigned from Hogan’s administration in August 2020.

Following his arrest, McGrath was released on bond. He was required to turn in his passport as a condition of release, according to his attorney.

McGrath later moved to Florida.

McGrath has pleaded not guilty. The most serious charge that he faces carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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