Catherine Pugh, Former Baltimore Mayor, Pleads Guilty in Children's Book Fraud

FILE - Catherine Pugh speaks to reporters after winning Baltimore’s Democratic mayoral primary, April 27, 2016, in Baltimore. Catherine Pugh, the former mayor of Baltimore, has been indicted on corruption charges connected to money she received for a series of children’s books she wrote. (Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times)

BALTIMORE — Federal prosecutors want the disgraced former mayor of Baltimore to be sentenced to nearly five years in prison for the scheme involving sales of her self-published "Healthy Holly" children's books.

In a sentencing memorandum filed Thursday, prosecutors told a judge that a sentence of 57 months in prison would be an "adequate and just" punishment for Catherine Pugh's "longstanding pattern of criminal conduct" and would deter other politicians from breaking the public's trust. Pugh pleaded guilty in November to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges in a deal with prosecutors.

Pugh, a veteran Democratic politician, is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 27 in Baltimore. She was elected mayor in 2016 and resigned under pressure in May.

Pugh's attorney, Steven Silverman, did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.

The case centers on lucrative bulk sales of Pugh's "Healthy Holly" books to nonprofits and foundations to promote her political career and fund her run for mayor. The paperbacks were meant for schools and day care centers, but it's unclear where tens of thousands of copies ended up.

"The facts establish that Pugh deliberately engaged in a broad range of criminal acts while serving as Maryland State Senator and Mayor of Baltimore City," prosecutors wrote. "She used the stature of those elected offices to solicit fraudulent book sales that generated substantial revenue for her publishing business, part of which she used to influence her 2016 mayoral election campaign in violation of state election laws."

The Associated Press

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