Lawmaker Resigns

Tawanna Gaines, a former Maryland delegate, arrives at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md., for a hearing, Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. Gaines, a Democrat who served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2001 before resigning in 2019, is scheduled to be sentenced after pleading guilty to a charge that she illegally used campaign funds for her personal benefit. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

GREENBELT, Md. — A former Maryland state lawmaker is scheduled to be sentenced Friday for misusing campaign funds for her personal benefit.

Tawanna Gaines, a Democrat who had served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2001, pleaded guilty in October to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang is scheduled to sentence her Friday morning at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt.

The fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but Chuang said in October that federal sentencing guidelines called for a range of eight to 33 months in prison, depending on the court's calculation of her criminal history.

A prosecutor has said Gaines spent campaign money on personal expenses, including fast food, hair styling, dental work, a cover for her swimming pool and an Amazon Prime membership.

Gaines resigned less than a week before she was charged in a criminal information. The Oct. 7 court filing accused Gaines of defrauding her campaign and its contributors out of more than $22,000.

Gaines, who was vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee, submitted her resignation to House Speaker Adrienne Jones on Oct. 4.

Gaines' daughter and former campaign treasurer, Anitra Edmond, pleaded guilty in November to a related charge of wire fraud. Edmond is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24. Edmond also took campaign funds for her personal use and failed to disclose contributions on state campaign finance reports, according to a court filing.

The Associated Press

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