- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2023

A federal judge issued an arrest warrant Monday for Roy McGrath, who served as a top aide to former Gov. Larry Hogan, after he failed to appear for the start of his trial on fraud charges.

Mr. McGrath’s attorney, Joseph Murtha, told U.S. District Judge Deborah Boardman that he expected Mr. McGrath to travel to Maryland from Florida but his client was not answering text messages early Monday.

Mr. Murtha said he spoke to Mr. McGrath regularly, including late Sunday, “in anticipation of the trial beginning today.”

“I have no idea where he is, I hope that he’s safe and I hope to speak to him very soon,” he told reporters in a clip aired by Fox 5 Baltimore.

The judge dismissed jurors and postponed the trial.  

Mr. McGrath faces charges related to a payout he received after leaving as executive director of the Maryland Environmental Service to become Mr. Hogan’s chief of staff in 2020.

An indictment alleges Mr. McGrath falsified a document related to a severance payment of a year’s salary — $233,647 — so that it looked like Mr. Hogan approved it.

When asked about it, prosecutors allege Mr. McGrath falsely told the governor the MES Board of Directors had offered him the severance payment in accordance with their usual practice.

Prosecutors also accused Mr. McGrath of misusing MES funds for personal expenses and falsifying time sheets to claim he was at work while on two vacations in 2019.

Mr. McGrath lasted 11 weeks on the job before resigning in August 2020 from Mr. Hogan‘s administration.

He faces charges of wire fraud, falsifying a document and embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits. The most serious charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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