Maryland State Senator Oaks no longer works at longtime day job

State Sen. Nathaniel Oaks, who is under federal indictment on corruption charges, has left his longtime private job, his employer announced Friday.

In an email to employees of Chesapeake Employers Insurance Co., chief executive Thomas Phelan informed the staff that the 71-year-old Baltimore Democrat turned in his resignation Thursday.

“We want to thank Nat for over 3 decades of service to the organization, and we wish him continued success with future endeavors,” Phelan wrote.

Chesapeake is the successor to the Injured Workers Insurance Fund. Oaks worked as an account manager.

Oaks’ departure comes the same week the U.S. attorney’s office added a count of obstruction of justice to an existing nine-count indictment on charges of fraud and bribery. Phelan said Oaks’ departure was Oaks’ decision and was not connected to his legal troubles.

A message texted to Oaks was not returned. His lawyer, Stuart O. Simms, could not be reached to comment.

Because the General Assembly is a part-time legislature, most lawmakers have outside jobs and take leave during legislative sessions.

Oaks, who served 28 years in the House before being appointed to the Senate in February, was originally indicted in April during the waning days of the legislative session.

Prosecutors charged that Oaks sent letters containing false statements on House of Delegates stationery to someone he believed to be a federal housing official to help a “confidential source” obtain a federal grant. They alleged that Oaks accepted $10,300 for his help.

The indictment also charged that Oaks took another $5,000 for agreeing to file a request with the Department of Legislative Services for a $250,000 bond bill for the source’s project.

The U.S. attorney’s office added eight more counts in a superseding indictment two months later and the single count of obstruction Wednesday. Prosecutors charged that Oaks reneged on a deal with the FBI to record conversations with the target of another investigation by tipping off that person that he was cooperating with authorities.

Oaks is now charged with four counts of wire fraud and four violations of a statute forbidding the use of cellphones in criminal activity. He faces possible sentences of 20 years for each wire fraud count and five for each count using his cellphone illegally. The obstruction-of-justice charge carries a 20-year term.

Trial is set for April 16.

mdresser@baltsun.com

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