Former Maryland Chief of Staff Roy McGrath is on the run. The former right-hand to Republican ex-Governor Larry Hogan has been declared a fugitive by the United States Marshals Service after failing to appear in federal court on Monday.
After defense attorney Joseph Murtha failed to reach his client, an arrest warrant was issued by U.S. District Judge Deborah Boardman.
Murtha asserts he’s had no contact with McGrath since last speaking with him on Sunday — prior to the former senior state government official’s scheduled flight to Maryland — but has communicated with the fugitive’s wife.
“I have been in contact with [McGrath’s wife] Laura, and she shared concerns for Roy’s safety,” Murtha told reporters.
McGrath was allowed to remain free after his initial indictment in October 2021 for wire fraud and theft in programs receiving funds.
While McGrath was alleged to have fraudulently received nearly $300,000 in ill-gotten funds, a superseding charge of falsification of records was added in June 2022 during his Governor-appointed tenure as Executive Director of Maryland Environmental Service (MES).
“McGrath personally enriched himself by using his positions of trust as the Executive Director of MES and the chief of staff for the Governor of Maryland to cause MES to make payments to McGrath, or on his behalf, to which he was not entitled,” the Department of Justice alleges.
Federal law enforcement officers converged on McGrath’s primary residence in Naples, Florida, and a second home located just a few blocks away on the same street to try to find this “Florida man” on the run.
According to former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, there’s a multitude of reasons a suspect may be compelled to flee justice.
“One is the defendant got cold feet and fled and tried to avoid a trial and the other is suicide,” Rosenstein, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, told the Baltimore Sun.
“There are occasions where criminal defendants, under a lot of stress, commit suicide. It’s a function of a defendant’s mental state and we don’t know what Mr. McGrath’s mental state was.”
If found, McGrath is expected to be returned to Maryland by the Marshal Service, whose expertise Rosenstein says, is “finding people who do not want to be found.”
Facing a maximum of 20 years for five counts of wire fraud, and 10 years for two counts of embezzlement, the fugitive was scheduled to stand trial in adjacent Anne-Arundel County on state charges for his crimes.
With his former chief of staff on the run, former Gov. Larry Hogan won’t have to testify as scheduled in the federal case.
Original reporting by Lee O. Sanderlin and Alex Mann at the Baltimore Sun.
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