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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Oaks to repay $5,000 as part of plea

A former state senator awaiting sentencing on federal fraud charges has agreed to forfeit $5,000. oaks

The forfeiture, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, is part of a plea agreement reached between federal prosecutors and former Sen. Nathaniel T. Oaks, a Baltimore Democrat.

Oaks, 71, pleaded guilty in late March to one count each of wire fraud and honest services fraud related to an investigation involving a confidential informant for the FBI who posed as a developer.

Oaks, who was a member of the House of Delegates at the time of the investigation, was introduced to the informant, who went by the name Mike Henley, in September 2015.

The lawmaker and developer spoke on a number of occasions about housing developments in Oaks’ district. Henley asked Oaks to speak to a fictitious official with the federal Department of  Housing and Urban Development, offering him a cash payment to do so.

Oaks wrote a letter on Henley’s behalf and sponsored a state bond bill.

Oaks openly worried that the FBI was monitoring his conversations and made Henley buy him a burner cell phone. Conversations on the phone and in person were frequently in code, with Oaks using hand signals or the word “lollipop” to refer to the amount he wanted to be paid. Prosecutors wrote that each “lollipop” represented a sum of $1,000.

Henley paid Oaks a total of $15,300 as part of the scheme, as originally charged in 2017.

The $5,000 paid by Oaks was part of the plea agreement entered into earlier this year. A federal judge could order additional payments if other proceeds or property could be traced to crimes.

Oaks is scheduled to be sentenced in July.

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