Federal law enforcement officials are offering up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of Roy McGrath, a onetime top aide to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is charged with corruption and fled ahead of his trial.
McGrath, who resigned in August 2020 shortly after becoming Hogan’s chief of staff, faces charges of wire fraud, embezzlement, misconduct in office and improper use of state funds after reports showed he took $233,647 in severance upon stepping down months earlier as head of a state agency.
Federal prosecutors say McGrath, 53, lied to the board of the Maryland Environmental Service in May 2020 when he told its members that Hogan signed off on the severance payment, which was roughly equivalent to a year’s salary.
The ex-Hogan aide, who served just 11 weeks in the Republican’s administration before resigning, also embezzled around $170,000 in other expenses, according to prosecutors.
The FBI and US Marshals Service are each offering a $10,000 reward for help with arresting the fugitive.
A manhunt began for McGrath after he skipped his March 13 court date in Baltimore, leading US District Judge Deborah Boardman to issue an arrest warrant.
The Naples, Fla., resident had previously pleaded not guilty to all charges in October 2021.
A judge granted McGrath pre-trial release on the condition that he appear for future court dates.
Joseph Murtha, McGrath’s attorney, said he had not expected his client to flee.
“I told him I’d see him at 8:45 outside of the courtroom,” Murtha told The Washington Post at the time of his flight. “Both myself and his wife and the people that care about him have concerns about his safety.”
McGrath was supposed to board a plane from Florida to Maryland the night before his court appearance.
A representative for Murtha did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prosecutors dropped a superseding indictment in the case on June 28, 2022, further charging McGrath with having falsified records during a federal investigation.
Hogan, 66, who served as Maryland’s governor from 2015 to 2023, considered a 2024 presidential run before announcing earlier this month he would not seek the office.
“I would never run for president to sell books or position myself for a Cabinet role,” he wrote in a New York Times op-ed. “I have long said that I care more about ensuring a future for the Republican Party than securing my own future in the Republican Party. And that is why I will not be seeking the Republican nomination for president.”
“I continue to be inspired by the example of our founders,” Hogan added. “They believed that the work of our democracy was meant to be done by citizen leaders, not a permanent political class.”
The ex-Maryland governor appointed Roy to head the state’s Environmental Service Board in 2016.
Before then, McGrath served as a senior adviser to Hogan and a liaison to the Maryland Board of Public Works.
Hogan in an August 2020 statement accepted McGrath’s resignation “with regret.”
“Roy has been a deeply valued member of our administration, and our state is better for his dedicated service,” the governor said at the time. “I recognize that this was a difficult decision for Roy, but I understand and respect his reasons for making this decision. I have always known Roy to be someone of the highest character, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.”
McGrath in the same press release said the debacle showed “the sad politics of personal destruction, and right now, we cannot afford unnecessary distractions from the critical work the governor and his team are doing.”
“There is no higher calling than public service. My experience began at age 18, and I have always approached it not as a matter of party loyalty, but as a Marylander first,” he said.
McGrath later provided messages to The Washington Post showing Hogan believed his former aide was innocent, with the then-governor saying in one missive: “I know you did nothing wrong. I know it is unfair. I will stand with you.”
Prosecutors had also planned to call Hogan last year as a witness to testify about the accusations against McGrath before the Maryland governor left office.
McGrath faces up to 20 years in prison on four counts of wire fraud and up to 10 years in prison on two counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits.