Roy McGrath, who was once chief of staff to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, remains missing on Tuesday, one day after he he didn’t show up for his federal criminal trial.
Here’s what we know about what’s going on.
Who is Roy McGrath?
McGrath spent 11 weeks as the then-governor’s chief of staff in 2020. He resigned under pressure after it was reported that he received a generous “severance” payout from another state agency when he left to join Hogan’s team in the State House.
Before taking the position as Hogan’s chief of staff, McGrath had been the director of the Maryland Environmental Service since 2016. The Maryland Environmental Service is an independent state agency that carries out environmental and public works projects primarily for other state agencies and local governments.
Before that, McGrath held lesser roles at the State House in the Hogan administration and worked for many years at a trade association for drugstores.
What charges is he facing?
In federal court, McGrath is facing five counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft and one count of falsifying a document. On Monday, he was scheduled to attend a hearing followed by jury selection for his trial.
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.
If found guilty on all counts, he faces a potential of decades in prison.
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.
Who is looking for McGrath?
After U.S. District Court Judge Deborah L. Boardman issued an arrest warrant on Monday, the U.S. Marshals Service became responsible for searching for McGrath.
The U.S. Marshals Service office in Baltimore described their effort as “an interstate fugitive investigation” and released a wanted poster on Tuesday as the search continued. The poster features front and profile pictures of McGrath in a dark suit jacket, blue shirt and yellow tie.
The poster asks people with information about McGrath’s location to call them at 1-866-4WANTED or 1-877-WANTED2.
A neighbor said multiple police cars had arrived Tuesday morning to the street where McGrath lives. Photos shared by the neighbor showed officers in plainclothes standing outside the home.
McGrath’s attorney, Joseph Murtha, said he was aware that law enforcement would check the McGrath home periodically.
Murtha hadn’t heard from McGrath, but he was in touch with McGrath’s wife by Tuesday afternoon. “She is anxiously awaiting to find out Roy’s whereabouts,” Murtha said in a text message.
Murtha said the wife had no information about where McGrath might be.
“It is my understanding that she is cooperating with law enforcement in their efforts to locate Roy,” Murtha said.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office sent a deputy to McGrath’s home in Naples, Florida, on Monday morning for a well-being check, but did not find him there.
Does McGrath have a passport?
He should not have a passport.
Back in fall 2021 after McGrath was charged, the court ordered that he could be free while awaiting trial. He was required to turn over his passport and wasn’t allowed to get a new one.
McGrath also was not allowed to have a gun, and his wife was required to turn over a firearm she owned.
Could he have gotten on a plane?
It’s possible that McGrath boarded a domestic flight; in fact, he was expected to fly from Florida to Maryland on Sunday night.
The conditions of his pretrial release included that he was allowed to travel to Florida and Maryland, as well as any place approved by the government.
Boarding an international flight would be unlikely, given that he’s not supposed to have a passport.
Does he have money?
It’s hard to know how much money McGrath has. But he was making more than $200,000 per year for multiple years.
It’s not known if he had any employment after he resigned from the governor’s office.
In Maryland, McGrath lived in a house in a golf course community in Edgewater that he sold for more than $1 million after he was charged.
His current home in a gated neighborhood in Naples was purchased for $610,000, according to an online real estate listing.