Senate President Bill Ferguson Tuesday responded to news of the indictment of Gov. Larry Hogan’s former chief of staff Roy McGrath on state and federal charges saying the charges only serve to confirm what lawmakers had already suspected for almost a year now.
“Today’s federal and state indictments of Roy McGrath and his conduct as a Maryland public official sadly confirmed what the legislature learned during the last year through oversight hearings,” Ferguson said in a statement. “As a result of the oversight hearings, the legislature passed Senate Bill 2 during the last legislative session.”
Ferguson added: “Among other things, the bill implemented strict compensation protocols and accountability measures to reform the Maryland Environmental Service. I hope that this legislation, coupled with the judicial process, ensures a similar situation can never happen again in Maryland.”
McGrath was indicted on Tuesday on wire fraud and embezzlement charges related to the six-figure severance payout he received after leaving his position as director of the Maryland Environmental Service (MES) on May 30, 2020.
McGrath left that position to serve as Hogan’s chief of staff, a position he held from June 1, 2020 to Aug. 17, 2020. McGrath left the governor’s office shortly after news of the severance was made public.
McGrath declined to answer most of the questions lawmakers had asked about his severance at an oversight hearing that was held last December.
Hogan’s communications director, Michael Ricci, in an email to MarylandReporter.com, called the charges “very serious and deeply troubling.”
“Marylanders deserve to know that their public officials are held to the highest ethical standards. Over the last year, our office has actively assisted law enforcement in these ongoing investigations. We commend both federal and state prosecutors for their diligence and professionalism. As this case moves to the courts, we are confident that the justice system will uphold the public trust,” Ricci added.
If McGrath is convicted on all of the federal charges, which include four counts of wire fraud and two counts of embezzlement, he could face up to 100 years in prison. Additionally, McGrath faces 27 state charges that each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
This article was originally published on MarylandReporter.com on Tuesday, October 5, 2021.