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Federal judge grants former Baltimore Mayor Pugh’s request to delay incarceration by two weeks

A federal judge who oversaw the recent criminal conviction of former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has granted a request from Pugh to delay her incarceration until April 27, two months after she was sentenced to three years behind bars for her “Healthy Holly” book fraud.

Pugh was to “self-surrender” and begin her sentence by April 13.

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In a motion filed March 2, defense attorney Andrew White said that an extension would allow her “to remain at her house until her niece, who lives with her at the residence, has completed the current school semester at the University of Maryland Law School.”

White noted Assistant U.S. Attorney Marty Clarke, who led the case against Pugh, did not object.

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U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow approved the request last week “in light of the government’s lack of opposition,” she wrote. She otherwise left in place the terms of Pugh’s release.

It remains unclear what federal corrections facility Pugh will serve her time in. Her attorneys have said they expect she will only serve a portion of her sentence in prison, due to recent legislation aimed at reducing the number of nonviolent, elderly offenders in federal prisons. Pugh is 69.

Pugh was sentenced Feb. 27 after pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion in relation to her making more than $850,000 from selling her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books, including to businesses and nonprofits with business before the city.

During her sentencing, Chasanow told Pugh to report to the court by April 13 if she hadn’t been provided other reporting information before then. Steven Silverman, another of Pugh’s attorneys, said they had received no other information about her reporting beyond that, including where she will serve her sentence.

The Baltimore Sun first began reporting on Pugh’s book sales, including selling 100,000 copies to the University of Maryland Medical System, where she sat on the board, in March 2019. The scandal snowballed, with more sales revealed and raids by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service on her homes and City Hall offices.

Pugh resigned from office prior to being charged in the case. She later admitted to defrauding her customers, failing to print thousands of copies sold and double-selling others, while illegally funneling some of the proceeds to her political campaign. Investigators also found that she failed to pay taxes.

In addition to her prison term, Pugh was ordered to pay more than $400,000 in restitution, most of it to UMMS, and forfeit nearly $670,000, including the Ashburton home where she and her niece live.

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