Federal authorities began a nationwide search for Roy McGrath, ex-chief of staff to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) after he failed to appear in court on wire fraud and embezzlement charges.
The U.S. Marshals announced that it had launched an interstate fugitive investigation into McGrath after he refused to appear in Maryland’s federal court.
@USMSBaltimore has initiated an interstate fugitive investigation. It is now seeking to apprehend the former Maryland governor’s top aide after he failed to appear in court on Monday, March 13. If you have information on his whereabouts, submit a tip here: https://t.co/6CHEjjXMQi pic.twitter.com/cGQ3VQ0boG
— U.S. Marshals (@USMarshalsHQ) March 14, 2023
In June 2020, McGrath allegedly stole more than $200,000 from the state, including a fraudulent $233, 647 severance payment he received after leaving his position as executive director of the Maryland Environmental Service to become Hogan’s chief of staff, according to a grand jury indictment.
Prosecutors also accused McGrath of illegally recording conversations with state officials and falsifying his time sheets to claim he was at work while on vacation.
McGrath’s attorney, Joseph Murtha, stated in an email that he was unsure of his client’s location after not attending his trial before U.S. District Judge Deborah L. Boardman.
“Unfortunately, at this time I have no further information about Mr. McGrath,” Murtha wrote. “It is my hope that he is safe and that we will have an opportunity to speak to one another in the near future.”
The FBI raided McGrath’s home in Naples, Florida, saying its agents “conducted court-authorized activity” at the residence.
In a phone interview with the Associated Press, Murtha confirmed the raid, saying agents were looking for any indication of McGrath’s whereabouts.
Murtha said he had no reason to believe his client would skip out on his trial. He said they had a conversation about the case. According to his attorney, McGrath was supposed to board a plane to Maryland later that night.
“I haven’t a clue. I didn’t see this coming,” Murtha said. “This behavior is so out of the ordinary for him. Obviously, his personal safety is a concern.”
In 2015, McGrath became Hogan’s deputy chief of staff. Hogan appointed him to lead the Maryland Environmental Service in December 2016.
In June 2020, McGrath served as Hogan’s chief of staff. Months later, he resigned after facing backlash over obtaining a severance payment of more than $230,000 for the job he took at the Maryland Environmental Service. Hogan has denied knowing or approving McGrath’s severance payment.
McGrath has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is facing a maximum prison sentence of 100 years.