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Ex-Hogan aide McGrath, accused of wire fraud, to remain on supervised release

Roy C. McGrath, former chief of staff to Gov. Larry Hogan and executive director of the Maryland Environmental Service, has been indicted on federal fraud charges as well as state charges. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

A former top adviser to Gov. Larry Hogan accused of wire fraud remains on supervised release after a brief court hearing Friday.

Roy C. McGrath appeared virtually from Florida before U.S. District Court Magistrate Thomas M. DiGirolamo, who was in Baltimore. The hearing was the first for the former chief of staff to the Republican governor after being indicted earlier this month.

McGrath faces four counts of wire fraud and two counts of misappropriation for alleged acts that occurred during his tenure as executive director of the quasi-public Maryland Environmental Service.

According to the indictment, McGrath fraudulently secured a $233,647.23 severance payment from MES in May before leaving to become Hogan’s chief of staff in June. McGrath is accused of  falsely telling the board that Hogan approved the payment. McGrath filed false time sheets with MES, claiming he was working while actually on vacation, according to prosecutors. 

McGrath is also accused of using funds from the service to pay a pledge McGrath made personally to a museum. He also allegedly had the service pay nearly $15,000 so he could attend Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education program after he had left MES.

If convicted, McGrath could face prison sentences of up to 20 years on each count of wire fraud plus fines of up to $250,000 for each and restitution.

McGrath faces additional penalties of 10 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines plus restitution for each count of misappropriation.

McGrath did not speak to the charges during the hearing.

Through his attorneys McGrath “vigorously and categorically denies” any criminal conduct related to the federal and related state charges. His defense attorneys, Bruce L. Marcus and Sydney M. Patterson wrote in an email earlier this month that their client “looks forward to clearing his good name and reputation at a trial on the merits.”

DiGirolamo agreed to continue to allow McGrath to remain out of jail on his own recognizance but with supervision. As a condition, any firearms must be removed from the home, a standard order, according to the judge, since McGrath will be subject to supervision visits in his home.

McGrath will also have to report to the U.S. Marshals in Florida to be formally processed.

The hearing in federal court was the first of two, including one scheduled for Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.

McGrath faces more than two dozen state charges of illegally recording conversations between himself, Hogan and other top state officials as well as misconduct in office, embezzlement and theft.

All of those charges are also related to his time as head of the Maryland Environmental Service. The Office of the State Prosecutor announced those charges at the same time as federal prosecutors made public an indictment against McGrath.