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Baltimore, Md., Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, 69, enjoyed a long career in politics before resigning earlier this year in a scandal. As a state senator, Pugh pushed organizations to buy large quantities of her self-published books for children — allegedly in exchange for state or city contracts, or other favors — and used the resulting money to fund her campaigns and buy a house. A Democrat, Pugh is now facing federal charges of fraud, conspiracy, tax evasion, and more. Prosecutors say she sold around 100,000 books in one transaction alone, but only around 63,000 copies of her books have ever been printed; after selling them, she would simply sell them again and again, since the buyers didn’t actually want them. Her longtime aide has already pleaded guilty to similar charges. Pugh ran her mayoral campaign on the theme that she had “more integrity” than her main opponent, Sheila Dixon. (RC/Washington Post) ...Well that’s an awfully low bar.

Author’s Note: Dixon, who served as mayor from 2007 to 2010, was indicted on 12 felony and misdemeanor counts, including perjury, theft, and misconduct. The charges were in part tied to incidents in which she allegedly misappropriated gift cards intended for the poor. In a plea deal, she was sentenced to probation.

Pugh was charged with 11 counts of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy in the book scandal. She signed a plea agreement admitting guilt on four counts of tax evasion and conspiracy, and was sentenced to three years in prison (of which she served 21 months), three years of probation, $412,000 in restitution, ordered to forfeit nearly $670,000 (including her home and the remaining balance of her campaign account), and agreed to the destruction of all copies of her book, Healthy Holly, that were in government custody. Yeah, it was that worthless. So much for her “integrity.” Can you believe it? A politician lied!

Original Publication Date: 01 December 2019
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 26.

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