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Robert K. Hur, United States Attorney, announces the indictment of former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh on fraud and tax evasion charges.

Former Mayor Catherine Pugh is expected to surrender to U.S. Marshals and appear Thursday afternoon in federal court in Baltimore to face charges of fraud and tax evasion.

The hearing will be Pugh’s first courtroom appearance in a criminal case that federal prosecutors have been building methodically for years.

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Her initial appearance is a formality; Pugh will be told of the 11 criminal counts against her, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and tax evasion.

In an indictment unsealed early Wednesday, federal prosecutors accuse Pugh of defrauding local businesses and nonprofit organizations with nearly $800,000 in sales of her “Healthy Holly” children’s books to enrich herself, promote her political career, and illegally fund her campaign for mayor.

At Thursday’s hearing, Pugh could enter a plea. Two other people charged in the “Healthy Holly” scandal — Roslyn Wedington and Gary Brown Jr. — already have agreed to plead guilty in federal court. Hearings for Wedington and Brown had not been scheduled as of Wednesday.

The 11 charges against Pugh carry a sentence of as much as 175 years in prison. Prosecutors, however, routinely agree to a reduced prison term if criminal defendants cooperate and plead guilty.

The most serious charges against Pugh amount to felony crimes. Pugh’s attorney, Steve Silverman, declined to comment on the charges Wednesday morning, saying “he will address this matter in open court tomorrow."

Pugh’s former police commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, pleaded guilty in the same federal court last year to three misdemeanor counts of failing to file federal tax returns. De Sousa was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison.

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