Marilyn Mosby, a Baltimore attorney general, was indicted Thursday on charges of fraudulently obtaining funds from a retirement fund and making false statements about loan applications to purchase two Florida vacation homes.
The charges against Ms. Mosby, 41, who was first elected state attorney in 2014 and drew national attention the following year for her handling of the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died in police custody, came a month ago from the investigation from by the federal authorities.
Ms. Mosby filed two requests in 2020 to withdraw about $90,000 from her city retirement account, according to the US Attorney’s Office in Maryland.
She faces two counts of perjury on those requests, which were filed through the CARES Act, because she has claimed the pandemic has caused her financial hardship. But at the time, it was operating at full capacity and making roughly $250,000 a year, according to the indictment.
“Instead of experiencing a decline in income in 2020, Mosby’s total salary increased in 2020,” the indictment read, noting that she received an increase of about $10,000 from the previous year.
Prosecutors said she also faces two counts of making false statements about a loan application for two Florida vacation homes.
According to the indictment, Ms. Mosby used the money she had withdrawn for down payments on homes. She did not disclose in her mortgage applications that she owed more than $45,000 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. In March 2020, the IRS imposed a lien on all of Ms. Mosby’s property. The concession was also applied to her husband, Nick Mosby, the president of Baltimore City Council. He was not charged in the case.
Prosecutors said Ms. Mosby did not disclose her tax problems in an agreement she signed with a management company to rent out a vacation home. That way, they said, she could get a lower interest rate on her mortgage.
Mortgages were valued at more than $900,000 for both homes – which were in Kissimmee and Longboat Key – according to the indictment. She is listed as the sole owner of both homes. In November, she sold the Kissimmee Estate, an eight-bedroom home, according to property records.
If convicted, Ms. Mosby will face a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each of the perjury charges and 30 years on each of the false loan applications charges.
Scott Bolden, Ms. Mosby’s attorney, has vehemently denied the charges against his client, calling them “fake”.
In an interview Thursday evening, he said the investigation is part of a “historic attack on Sudanese women’s claimants.” He added that Ms. Mosby had no plans to step down from her position.
Mr Bolden said Ms Mosby claimed she was in financial difficulty because she owns a travel startup, and that she did not disclose the tax lien on her property because she did not know it. He said Ms. Mosby’s husband is responsible for the couple’s taxes.
Mr. Mosby did not respond to emails Thursday evening.
When Ms. Mosby became the state attorney for the city of Baltimore in 2015, at the age of 34, she was the youngest attorney general of any major US city.
Three months into her tenure, Freddie Gray died in police custody after sustaining a spinal cord injury. Video footage showed men carrying his body limping into a police truck. His death sparked protests against excessive force and raised awareness of police killings of blacks. Riots erupted and police cars were set on fire. The city was placed under a curfew.
Two weeks after Mr. Gray’s death, Ms. Mosby announced that she would sue six officers. They were charged with, among other things, premeditated murder and murder. That decision was contested, with critics saying it moved too quickly in what was inevitably an uphill battle.
A judge acquitted three officers, saying there was not enough evidence. Ms Mosby then dropped the remaining charges against three police officers, another divisive decision.
However, in 2018, Ms. Mosby easily won another four-year term ending this year. At least two candidates have announced that they will challenge her in the Democratic primary this summer. They expressed concern on social media on Thursday about Ms. Mosby’s alleged actions.
Ms. Mosby and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have repeatedly clashed over the correct approach to addressing the violence in Baltimore.
In an appearance on Fox News last month, Mr Hogan blamed Ms. Mosby and her refusal to prosecute violent crimes as “a big part of the problem” for the escalation of violence. Ms. Mosby responded with an open letter accusing Mr. Hogan of issuing “continuous dog whistling attacks over the Baltimore crime” and raising fears “to score political points with your conservative base”.
Shelag McNeill Contribute to research.