Former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will stand trial on mortgage fraud charges before the sentencing for her recent perjury convictions, a judge said Monday.
U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby told attorneys on the case in a Monday afternoon teleconference that she’d send them potential trial dates for the “first quarter” of next year. Attorneys asked Griggsby to set aside three weeks for the case, to include jury selection.
Mosby’s lawyers said Monday that they wanted to go forward with the mortgage fraud trial and then have a combined sentencing, rather than subjecting Mosby to sentencing for perjury with more charges pending.
Federal prosecutors said on the call that they would demand Mosby surrender her passport now that she’s been convicted.
A federal jury found Mosby guilty last week of two counts of perjury, determining that she lied about suffering financial hardship to obtain about $80,000 from her city retirement savings account under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
She used the money on a pair of properties in Florida worth roughly $1 million combined, and still faces mortgage fraud charges stemming from those transactions. Prosecutors say Mosby misled mortgage lenders by neglecting to disclose a tax lien and claiming she intended an eight-bedroom house near Disney World as a second home, when she’d already hired a company to run it as a rental.
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The jurors who decided Mosby’s perjury charges saw evidence of how she used the money that they determined she obtained by perjury, but she was not on trial for mortgage fraud.
That’s because Mosby’s lawyers won the right to have the charges severed, so there would be one trial for perjury and another for mortgage fraud. They also persuaded a judge to move the case from Baltimore to Greenbelt, citing pervasive media coverage about the former state’s attorney in the region surrounding the city where she had held office.
Mosby faces up to 10 years in prison for the perjury convictions, while the mortgage fraud charges, together, carry a maximum penalty of 20 years. Defendants in federal court rarely receive the maximum sentences.
At trial last week, prosecutors described Mosby as a greedy politician who was willing to lie to enrich herself under a law intended to help those suffering from the coronavirus. Her attorneys countered that she qualified for CARES Act relief because the pandemic prevented a portfolio of businesses she started from taking off.
Three days of testimony brought Mosby’s personal finances into public light.
An FBI forensic accountant, whose testimony made up the bulk of the government’s case, said Mosby couldn’t have afforded the properties in Florida without the money she got under the CARES Act.
The accountant also testified that Mosby counted expenses incurred in her personal life or capacity as state’s attorney as costs of operating the companies. Rather than experiencing a loss from the businesses, the accountant said, Mosby may have made money from the apparent tax improprieties.