GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — A longtime aide to former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh was sentenced to 27 months in prison Friday for his role in the Healthy Holly scandal.

Gary Brown, Jr., pleaded guilty last year to fraud conspiracy and tax charges in the case.

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According to an indictment, Brown helped Pugh defraud purchasers of the former mayor’s self-published children’s books and helped her solicit nonprofits to buy them.

U.S. Attorneys said there would be no Health Holly scandal without Brown.

Prosecutors said Brown was unquestionably Pugh’s right-hand man from start to finish. They described the criminal alliance between Pugh and Brown, who ran an eight-year, $860,000 scam selling Pugh’s self-published Healthy Holly children’s books.


Brown’s attorney said he was loyal to a fault, a glorified errand boy and viewed Pugh as a maternal figure. The judge did not buy it, saying the victims were all of those who lost faith in our institutions.

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“One can only imagine how much he could have accomplished for the people of Baltimore had he instead devoted that time to his actual job as a public servant,” Jon Lenzner, First Assistant U.S. Attorney, said.

View our interactive timeline here: Healthy Holly Timeline

Prosecutors said Brown was motivated by political gain. The state brought charges the day before he was set to start an appointment in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Pugh later resigned and pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and tax charges. In February, Judge Deborah Chasanow sentenced her to three years in prison.

Pugh is currently serving her sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville, a low-security prison for women in Aliceville, Alabama.

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Paul Gessler