Arrest Warrant Issued for former chief of staff to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

After failing to appear in court on Monday, March 13, 2023, Roy C. McGrath, Governor Hogan’s Chief of Staff through part of 2020, is now wanted by the FBI and US Marshals.

According to the FBI, McGrath has been the subject of multiple Federal indictments since October 5, 2021, when a federal grand jury returned an indictment, and a state criminal information was filed, charging Roy C. McGrath, age 52, of Naples, Florida, for allegedly fraudulently obtaining funds from Maryland Environmental Service corporation. The criminal information also alleges that McGrath illegally recorded private conversations with senior Maryland state officials.

A superseding indictment was returned June 28, 2022 for falsification of records to the previous federal charges of wire fraud and theft in programs receiving federal funds.

McGrath was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to serve as Executive Director of Maryland Environmental Service (MES), a corporation owned by the State of Maryland to provide environmental services such as water and wastewater management, solid waste management, composting, recycling, dredged material management and other services to state and local government agencies, federal government entities, and private clients.  MES, which was headquartered in Millersville, Maryland, generated its operating funds from fees charged to governmental and private clients for its services, as well as from federal grants and funding from federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.  MES functioned as an independent state corporation which did not pay its employees according to the state government pay scale but did require its employees to comply with state travel regulations, annual leave policies, and policies regarding compensatory leave, and time and attendance reporting.  McGrath resigned from MES as of May 31, 2020, to become the Governor’s Chief of Staff effective as of June 1, 2020.

Count Eight of the superseding indictment alleges that after press accounts of his “severance” payment from MES of a year’s salary or $233,647.23 occurred in August 2020, McGrath knowingly falsified a document which falsely purported to be a memorandum to the Governor of Maryland, referenced a salary of $233,647.23, and a severance package from MES.  The allegedly false memorandum contained a blue check mark, as characteristically used by the Governor of Maryland, in the “approved” box which created the illusion that the Governor had seen and approved the memorandum.  The allegedly false memorandum was backdated to May 18, 2020, which the indictment alleges was the date McGrath interviewed for the Chief of Staff position with the Governor.

The previously filed indictment alleges that to conceal the payments and circumstances surrounding the payments from the Governor of Maryland and the MES Board of Directors, McGrath falsely told the MES Board that the Governor was aware of and consented to the severance payment.  As detailed in the indictment, when the Governor learned about the severance package and questioned McGrath about it, McGrath falsely stated that the MES Board of Directors had offered him the severance payment in accordance with their usual practice.  McGrath also attempted to delete or caused to be deleted from the public minutes of the MES Board of Directors meeting, any mention of compensation of McGrath or the Executive Director of MES, or the amount $233,647.23, or the description of the compensation as a “year’s salary.”

The previously filed federal indictment also alleges that McGrath caused MES funds to be paid to a museum where he was a member of the Board of Directors instead of using his personal funds to pay his pledge to the museum; that McGrath caused the MES Board of Directors to approve paying McGrath a $233,647.23 severance payment—equal to one year’s salary—upon his departure from MES by falsely telling them that the Governor was aware of and approved the payment; that McGrath caused MES to pay tuition benefits for McGrath after he left MES by personally approving reimbursements for payments made by Subordinate Employee #1 on McGrath’s behalf; and that McGrath falsified his time sheets, reporting that he was at work while on two separate vacations in 2019.

McGrath also faces pending state criminal charges relating to an alleged illegally recorded private conversations involving senior state officials without their permission during his employment at MES and as the Governor’s Chief of Staff.  In the state case, McGrath faces a maximum penalty of any sentence that is not cruel or unusual for Misconduct by a Public Official, and a maximum of five years in prison for felony theft, felony theft scheme, misappropriation, and for each violation of the Maryland Wiretap Statute.

If convicted of the federal charges, McGrath faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each of the five counts of wire fraud; 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; and a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for the charge of falsifying a document.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Original story by the FBI, edited for relevance.

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