BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh will serve her time in an Alabama women’s prison, according to court records.
Pugh, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and fraud in the Healthy Holly children’s book scandal, is asking for a delay so that she can “resolve” her state perjury charge as the coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of courts.
She was sentenced on February 27 to three years in prison. Pugh must turn herself in by April 27; she was granted a delay her incarceration on March 2 after she asked a judge if she could stay in her home with her niece until the semester ended.
According to the motion, she’s assigned to serve her sentence at a medium-security prison, Federal Correctional Institution in Aliceville.
She’s now asking for another delay because she’s been “adversely affected” by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her perjury court date was moved to May 14.
“To require the defendant to surrender to BOP custody in Alabama to only to then have to ben returned to Maryland for the final adjudication of her state law charges, serves no legitimate purpose,” the motion states.
It also says travel could create more delays for her perjury case in May and would also affect the BOP programs she could benefit from while in the Alabama facility that would allow her early release to a halfway house. Her lawyer also said while delayed, it would give them time to ask for Pugh to serve at a facility closer to her family. The Alabama prison is 877 miles away from Baltimore and would be a 14-hour drive.
According to the motion, Pugh wants to serve her sentence in West Virginia.
The 70-year-old pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges in November, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and two counts of tax evasion.
She had been accused of defrauding people who bought her “Healthy Holly” children’s books out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, then using the money to fund her campaign for mayor.
The veteran Democratic politician was elected mayor in 2016 and resigned in May after authorities began investigating bulk sales of her “Healthy Holly” paperbacks that netted her hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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Pugh must pay $400,000 in restitution to the University of Maryland Medical System and $12,000 to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund.
She will also have to forfeit $669,688, including her Ashburton home and $17,800 in her campaign account.