Federal law enforcement officials on Wednesday morning searched the Florida home of Roy McGrath, the ex-chief of staff to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan who remains missing after skipping out on his criminal trial.
Neither the FBI nor the U.S. Marshals Service would comment on law enforcement activity that was witnessed by neighbors and posted on social media Wednesday morning.
But McGrath’s attorney in Maryland, Joseph Murtha, told The Baltimore Banner that the FBI executed a search warrant at the home.
Murtha said he has not heard from McGrath, but he has been in touch with McGrath’s wife, who also spoke to law enforcement.
McGrath is considered a fugitive by the U.S. Marshals, who have launched an interstate manhunt for him. The local sheriff did a well-being check at the house on Monday morning but did not find McGrath. Then law enforcement were spotted in the neighborhood on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
McGrath was scheduled to go on trial in federal court in Baltimore on Monday on charges of wire fraud, theft and falsifying a document, related to his actions as Hogan’s chief of staff and before that, leading the Maryland Environmental Service.
He never showed up to court. even though his attorney had spoken to him the day before and expected him to fly up to Baltimore for trial. A judge promptly issued an arrest warrant.
McGrath, who now lives in Naples, Florida, served as the Republican governor’s chief of staff for 11 weeks in the summer of 2020. He resigned under pressure after it was reported that he’d negotiated a six-figure “severance” payment when he left the environmental service to join the governor’s team at the State House.
Legislative and criminal investigations followed and he eventually was charged on multiple counts in both federal and state courts.
The charges are related to McGrath’s severance payment and other alleged conduct at the environmental service and in the governor’s office. In an indictment, prosecutors allege he ran a scheme to enrich himself personally by defrauding the government.
Prosecutors allege he used environmental service money to pay a personal pledge to an Eastern Shore art museum; improperly had the environmental service pay for a leadership course at Harvard University; misled environmental service employees to pay him severance; claimed on his timecards that he was working when he was really on vacation; and faked a memo that purported to show that Hogan approved of the severance payment of one year’s salary, which was more than $233,000.
In a related case, McGrath is awaiting trial in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court on multiple charges of misconduct in office and wiretapping; prosecutors allege he recorded conversations with the governor and other top officials without their knowledge. That trial is scheduled for July.
This article will be updated.