Madeleine O'Neill//January 13, 2022
//January 13, 2022
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has been federally indicted on two counts each of perjury and making false statements on a loan application.
The indictment was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
Mosby’s lawyer said in a statement that the charges were “bogus” and “rooted in personal, political and racial animus.”
The charging document alleges that in May 2020, Mosby falsely claimed to have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to request a $40,000 withdrawal from her city of Baltimore employee retirement account, which she allegedly used toward a down payment for a vacation home in Kissimmee, Florida.
She is also accused of using the same process to procure another $50,000 in December 2020, which she then allegedly used to make a down payment on a second vacation home in Long Boat Key, Florida.
According to the indictment, Mosby falsely certified that she met one of the qualifications for a distribution under the federal CARES Act: that she experienced “adverse financial consequences from the coronavirus as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, or laid off; having reduced work hours; being unable to work due to lack of childcare; or the closing or reduction of hours of a business she owned or operated.”
The indictment charges that Mosby, 41, did not experience any of those financial hardships, and that she received her full gross salary of $247,955 from Jan. 1 through Dec. 29, 2020.
The indictment also accuses Mosby of failing to disclose a $45,000 IRS lien for unpaid taxes when she signed an application for a $490,000 mortgage to purchase the Kissimmee property and again when she signed an application for a $428,000 mortgage for the Long Boat Key property.
At the time, Mosby had unpaid federal taxes “from a number of previous years,” according to the indictment. The IRS placed a lien against all property belonging to Mosby and her husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, on March 3, 2020.
Marilyn Mosby did not disclose the lien on her mortgage applications, the indictment charges.
Nick Mosby is not named in the indictment.
Marilyn Mosby is also accused of signing a “second home rider” on the Kissimmee property and agreed that she, as the borrower, would occupy and use the property as a second home. The rider also forbid any agreement that required the borrower to rent the property or give a management firm control of the property.
Signing the rider allowed Mosby to obtain a lower interest rate on the property, the indictment claims.
But a month earlier, Mosby had given a management company control over the Kissimmee property, according to the indictment.
Mosby faces a maximum of five years in federal prison for each count of perjury and up to 30 years in prison for the false mortgage application charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Mosby’s lawyer, A. Scott Bolden, said in a statement that Mosby is innocent.
“We will fight these charges vigorously, and I remain confident that once all the evidence is presented, that she will prevail against these bogus charges — charges that are rooted in personal, political and racial animus five months from her election,” Bolden said.
Bolden said the charges filed Thursday are “a far cry” from the tax-related charges that were central to a monthslong federal investigation into Mosby.
He said the U.S. Attorney’s Office repeatedly declined to meet or to say whether “evidence of Ms. Mosby’s innocence” was presented to the grand jury.
“DOJ’s Criminal Tax Division and the U.S. Attorney for Maryland went completely dark as they conspired to wrongfully indict my client on non-tax related charges,” Bolden said. “You would only conduct a criminal investigation in that manner if you were not interested in the truth or exculpatory evidence or justice, but rather only concerned with obtaining an indictment and bringing false charges against my client — at all or any costs.”
A spokesperson for the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office said Mosby and the office “remain completely focused and wholly committed to serving the citizens of our city. Our leadership and our frontline prosecutors are some of the best in the world and we will not be distracted or sidetracked from our mission to make Baltimore a safer community.”
In a news release, U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the FBI and IRS criminal investigation unit of the Washington, D.C. field office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leo Wise, Sean Delaney and Aaron S.J. Zelinsky are prosecuting the case.
Wise is known for handling corruption cases involving high-profile targets. He recently wrapped up a three-week federal trial at which prominent Baltimore defense attorney Kenneth W. Ravenell was convicted of money laundering.
Mosby’s time in office has been marked by frequent controversy. She entered the political arena as a relative newcomer but quickly proved to be an effective and personable campaigner, winning over enough voters to secure her spot as the youngest top prosecutor in any major American city in 2015.
She quickly found herself at the center of the conflagration sparked by the in-custody death of Freddie Gray, a young Black man who died after suffering a spinal cord injury inside a police van.
Mosby moved to charge six police officers who were involved in Gray’s arrest with a variety of crimes, including second-degree murder. Three officers were acquitted and Mosby dropped the charges against the remaining officers. She later faced a lawsuit over the prosecutions.
She again courted controversy with her more recent decision to halt prosecutions of certain nonviolent crimes, including drug paraphernalia and possession, prostitution, and other minor offenses.
The policy received criticism from opponents — but praise from criminal justice reform advocates. It was found to have resulted in a relatively small number of re-arrests in a study commissioned by Mosby’s office.
Mosby has also clashed with various politicians, including Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has tried to blame Mosby’s policies for the persistent scourge of violent crime in Baltimore.
In November, Mosby blasted Hogan for threatening to withhold state funding from her office. She said Hogan was using “Baltimore as a punching bag” and that he was “disrespecting (her) again.”
Last year, the pressure on Mosby and her husband escalated when it became clear the couple was under federal investigation. A flurry of subpoenas requested a variety of financial documents connected to her campaigns and to a private travel and consulting business Mosby started in 2019, which the Baltimore Brew reported in 2020.
Mosby also came under fire for traveling extensively during her time in office. Baltimore Inspector General Isabel Mercedes Cumming conducted an investigation into Mosby’s travels, at Mosby’s request, and found that she spent 144 days away in 2018 and 2019. The report faulted Mosby for not following city procedures for travel, but found no taxpayer money had been misspent.
Mosby’s lawyers challenged some of the report’s findings, intensifying the tensions between the state’s attorney and Cummings, whose office investigates fraud and corruption.
Mosby won reelection in 2018 and is up for reelection this year. She is vying against Baltimore defense attorneys Ivan Bates and Roya Hanna.