Fugitive search underway for ex-Hogan chief of staff who allegedly stole $276,000
An interstate investigation is underway for a one-time chief of staff to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan after he failed to appear in court on Monday, the US Marshals Service said.
Roy C. McGrath, 53, who served as the top aide to Hogan, a Republican, for a few months during the summer of 2020, is facing charges in relation to an alleged scheme to bilk Maryland out of more than $276,000.
McGrath has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was released on bond, the US Marshals Service said in a statement Tuesday. He was due to appear in a federal court in Baltimore and is now considered a “wanted fugitive.”
The FBI executed a search warrant Wednesday at McGrath’s Naples, Florida, home, his attorney, Joseph Murtha, told CNN. Murtha said he is “still unaware of [McGrath’s] whereabouts.”
McGrath was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2021 on charges that he defrauded the Maryland Environmental Service, a state-operated corporation where he served as executive director before joining Hogan’s office, of a $233,647.23 severance payment by “falsely telling them that the Governor was aware of and approved the payment,” the Justice Department said.
The indictment also alleges that McGrath directed MES funds to an art museum on which he was a member of the board of directors so as to avoid paying for a pledge out of his own pocket, defrauded MES to pay for a tuition expense of more than $14,000 and falsified time sheets during two vacations.
McGrath was initially charged with wire fraud and embezzlement from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits, and a superseding indictment returned in June 2022 also charged him with falsifying records. On the state level, he is facing felony theft charges and a violation of the state’s wiretap law, the Justice Department said.
When he resigned from Hogan’s office in August 2020 amid inquiries about the severance payout, McGrath blamed the “sad politics of personal destruction” and said he was stepping down to avoid “unnecessary distractions” to Hogan and his team.
McGrath faces decades in prison if he’s convicted of all the charges against him, though the Justice Department acknowledged that actual sentences are typically less than the maximum penalties.
This story has been updated with additional information.