Monday, March 13, 2023
David Collins, WBAL-TV 11
A nationwide search is an underway for Roy McGrath after federal agents searched his Florida home Wednesday morning, according to the US Marshal’s Service.
In addition to the marshals, the FBI is also involved in the search after a federal judge in Baltimore issued a warrant for McGrath’s arrest. The one-time chief of staff to former Gov. Larry Hogan failed to show up Monday for his criminal trial on federal fraud and other charges.
Law officers with drawn guns raided McGrath’s home Wednesday morning in Naples, Florida, where a neighbor described the activity as disturbing, especially in their gated community.
Former Deputy US Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who served as US attorney for Maryland for 12 years, provided 11 News with more insight into the search.
“They would be looking for any evidence that he had made plans to flee, that might be in the form of electronic records. For example, finding his computer would probably be a top priority,” Rosenstein told 11 News via phone.
According to federal prosecutors, McGrath stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state while working for the Maryland Environmental Service. The federal government accused McGrath of claiming to be working while he went on vacation and using MES funds to pay for tuition and donations.
Authorities said McGrath falsely engineered a $233,000 severance package from MES before going to work as Hogan’s chief of staff. McGrath claimed Hogan approved the severance, which hogan-orders-audit-of-maryland-environmental-service-following-former-chief-of-staffs-resignation/33794975″ ga-processed=”1″ sl-processed=”1″>the former governor denied. mcgrath-governors-new-chief-of-staff-resigns-questions-severance-payout/33627104″ ga-processed=”1″ sl-processed=”1″>McGrath resigned as Hogan’s chief of staff in August 2020.
“Typically, there are two reasons why a defendant doesn’t show up for court: They might get cold feet, they are nervous about appearing, and they are thinking they might avoid capture if they flee,” Rosenstein said. “In some cases, unfortunately, the defendants under stress of a pending trial may seek to attempt suicide.”
McGrath’s attorney, Joe Murtha, said he had been in contact with McGrath’s wife, Laura McGrath, explaining in a written statement: “His wife is cooperating with law enforcement and is anxiously awaiting to find out information about Roy’s whereabouts.”
Rosenstein said the FBI, who interviewed Laura McGrath, about her husband’s state of mind, said they would also look into electronic records.
“I think the defendant’s spouse — anybody close to him — will likely have insight into what his state of mind was at the time,” Rosenstein said. “I mean, they would know, for example, if the person was depressed or a potential suicide risk or they talked about the possibility of fleeing.”
Rosenstein said investigators would check into any airplane flights and his credit cards to see whether he had used them to rent a car or a hotel room, for example.
“They will also check his bank records to see if he has withdrawn cash, and, of course, phone records. The best way to find someone is by tracking the location of their phones,” Rosenstein said.
Authorities said McGrath would face an additional charge of failure to appear when he was captured. The court will likely deny bail, citing McGrath as a flight risk.
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