Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who held elected offices in Baltimore for two decades and was elevated by voters to lead the city after the upheaval of 2015, was sentenced to three years in federal prison Thursday for a fraud scheme involving a children’s book series.
U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow described Pugh’s crimes as “astounding” and said she took advantage of a career spent doing good works to mislead organizations who purchased her “Healthy Holly” books.
“I have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense,” the judge said. “This was not a tiny mistake, lapse of judgment. This became a very large fraud. The nature and circumstances of this offense clearly, I think, are extremely, extremely serious.”
Pugh, 69, tearfully asked Chasanow for mercy and apologized in court “to anyone I have offended or hurt through my actions.” She said she had “turned a blind eye” and “sanctioned things I should not have,” but did not intend to cause harm.