Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh indicted in children's book scheme; pleads guilty to conspiracy, tax evasion

Pugh was facing wire fraud and tax-related charges.

Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and tax charges on Thursday a day after she was indicted on numerous federal counts in an alleged scheme involving the publishing of her children's books, officials announced.

Pugh, 69, allegedly defrauded customers of Healthy Holly books, a company she owned, for her own political and personal gain, including funding her mayoral run, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In all, she earned $800,000 for book deals that Maryland's chief accountant called "brazen, cartoonish corruption," according to The Associated Press.

She is also accused of using funds from sales of fraudulently obtained Healthy Holly books to purchase, and then renovate, a house in Baltimore City, according to the statement.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced Pugh had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of tax evasion. She is scheduled for sentencing on Feb. 27.

"Catherine Pugh betrayed the public trust for her personal gain," U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a statement Thursday. "Baltimore City faces many pressing issues, and we need dedication and integrity from our leaders — not corruption — in order to solve them."

Federal prosecutors claim that Pugh went about defrauding her customers in multiple ways, including not delivering books after they had been paid for.

She is accused of conspiring in the scheme with former Baltimore City employee Gary Brown, who was charged with and later convicted of violating Maryland’s election laws in January 2017.

"The people of Maryland expect elected officials to make decisions based on the public's best interests, not to abuse their office for personal gain," Jennifer Boone, special agent of the FBI's Baltimore Division, said in a statement. "The indictment alleges that Catherine Pugh betrayed the public's trust."

The grand jury indictment was handed down on Nov. 14 and made public Wednesday. She faces charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and two counts of tax evasion.

Pugh, who resigned as mayor in May, is expected to turn herself in to the U.S. Marshals before her initial court appearance on Thursday.

She could not be reached by ABC News.

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