Law enforcement officials began a search for Roy McGrath, a one-time chief of staff to former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, after he failed to show up Monday in court this week for a criminal trial in Baltimore.
U.S. District Judge Deborah Boardman issued a warrant seeking the arrest of McGrath, who faces wire fraud and embezzlement charges, following his no-show surprise Monday morning.
McGrath’s attorney, Joseph Murtha, told reporters he was “shocked” by his client’s absence. After having a “substantively productive conversation” with his client on Sunday, McGrath said he planned to meet McGrath outside the courthouse ahead of the trial, but McGrath never appeared.
Authorities conducted a welfare check at McGrath’s home in Naples, Florida, but he was not at the residence, according to multiple reports.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Murtha told news radio station WTOP there were no updates on his client’s whereabouts. The Baltimore Banner reported that the U.S. Marshals Service considers McGrath to be a fugitive, and a wanted poster was released on Tuesday.
NEW: Here’s a wanted poster from the US Marshals Service for Roy McGrath, former Gov. Larry Hogan’s ex-chief of staff.
McGrath was scheduled to appear for his federal fraud trail in Baltimore yesterday. His attorney says he has no idea where McGrath may be. pic.twitter.com/bqnXK5zTAd
— Mikenzie Frost (@MikenzieFrost) March 14, 2023
McGrath, 53, resigned as Hogan’s chief of staff in 2020 after the revelation that McGrath received a severance package of more than $230,000, equal to a year’s salary, from his prior job of leading the Maryland Environmental Service.
McGrath pleaded not guilty to federal wire fraud and theft charges. His court appearance Monday morning was set to begin with an arraignment for a superseding indictment. State charges accuse him of illegally recording private conversations with senior officials. If convicted, McGrath could face decades in prison.
McGrath has a long history working with Hogan, who once described McGrath as a “trusted adviser” and key to helping him build his administration after winning the Maryland governor’s race in 2014, according to The Washington Post.
Hogan, who could be called as a witness in the McGrath case, denies approving McGrath’s large severance. Murtha said McGrath “firmly stands by the fact that Governor Hogan formally approved of his compensation from Maryland Environmental Service, and sadly, turned his back on Mr. McGrath to avoid the political fall out of his decision.”
Hogan left office in January as a relatively popular governor in deep-blue Maryland and announced this month that he will not run for president in 2024.