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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Former Executive Director of Maryland Environmental Service Facing Federal and State Charges for Allegedly Fraudulently Obtaining More Than $276,731 From His Employer, and State Felony Violations of the Maryland Wiretap Statute

Allegedly Fraudulently Obtained a Year’s Salary as a Severance Payment, Used MES Funds to Pay a Personal Pledge to a Museum, Caused MES to Pay Tuition Expenses for a Class Taken After He Left, and Recorded Private Conversations with State Officials

Baltimore, Maryland – As a result of a collaborative investigation, today a federal grand jury returned an indictment, and a state criminal information has been filed, charging Roy C. McGrath, age 52, of Naples, Florida, for allegedly fraudulently obtaining funds from Maryland Environmental Service corporation. The criminal information also alleges that McGrath illegally recorded private conversations with senior Maryland state officials. 

McGrath is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and a state court appearance in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, but no dates have been set for those hearings.

The federal and state charges were announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton Howard III; and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve one’s community, and public officials are entrusted to place the interests of citizens above their own,” said Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner.  “Our federal and state law enforcement team in Maryland will always hold accountable public officials who betray the public trust for their personal gain.  Maryland residents should always demand honesty and integrity from those in government, and hopefully this indictment offers the public some level of confidence that we are committed to prosecuting those who violate that trust.”

“Our office will seek to hold accountable any public official who abuses the privileges of their office for corrupt reasons or illicit personal gain. The Office of the State Prosecutor will continue to work collaboratively with our partners to ensure the public’s interests are protected,” said Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton Howard.

“According to this indictment, Roy McGrath misappropriated public money for his own benefit. From personal travel to even obtaining a certificate from one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, McGrath’s alleged actions were self-serving and ultimately self-sabotaging,” said Thomas J. Sobocinski, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Baltimore Field Office. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to rooting out public corruption and holding officials like him accountable.”

According to the six-count federal indictment filed today in U.S. District Court and the 27-count criminal information filed in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, on December 27, 2016, McGrath was appointed by the Governor of Maryland to serve as Executive Director of Maryland Environmental Service (MES), a corporation owned by the State of Maryland to provide environmental services such as water and wastewater management, solid waste management, composting, recycling, dredged material management and other services to state and local government agencies, federal government entities, and private clients. MES, which was headquartered in Millersville, Maryland, generated its operating funds from fees charged to governmental and private clients for its services, as well as from federal grants and funding from federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Transportation.  MES functioned as an independent state corporation which did not pay its employees according to the state government pay scale, but did require its employees to comply with state travel regulations, annual leave policies, and policies regarding compensatory leave, and time and attendance reporting. McGrath resigned from MES as of May 31, 2020, to become the Governor’s Chief of Staff effective as of June 1, 2020.

The federal and state charges allege that from March 2019 through December 2020, McGrath personally enriched himself by using his positions of trust as the Executive Director of MES and the chief of staff for the Governor of Maryland to cause MES to make payments to McGrath, or on his behalf, to which he was not entitled. 

Specifically, the federal indictment and state criminal information allege: that McGrath caused MES funds to be paid to a museum where he was a member of the Board of Directors instead of using his personal funds to pay his pledge to the museum; that McGrath caused the MES Board of Directors to approve paying McGrath a $233,647.23 severance payment—equal to one year’s salary—upon his departure from MES by falsely telling them that the Governor was aware of and approved the payment; that McGrath caused MES to pay tuition benefits for McGrath after he left MES by personally approving reimbursements for payments made by Subordinate Employee #1 on McGrath's behalf; and that McGrath falsified his time sheets, reporting that he was at work while on two separate vacations in 2019. 

The state criminal information also alleges that, during his tenure at MES and later as the Governor’s Chief of Staff, McGrath illegally recorded private conversations involving senior state officials without their permission,

The indictment alleges that to conceal the payments and circumstances surrounding the payments from the Governor of Maryland and the MES Board of Directors, McGrath falsely told the MES Board that the Governor was aware of and consented to the severance payment.  As detailed in the indictment, when the Governor learned about the severance package and questioned McGrath about it, McGrath falsely stated that the MES Board of Directors had offered him the severance payment in accordance with their usual practice.  McGrath also attempted to delete or caused to be deleted from the public minutes of the MES Board of Directors meeting, any mention of compensation of McGrath or the Executive Director of MES, or the amount $233,647.23, or the description of the compensation as a “year’s salary.”

If convicted of the federal charges, McGrath faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each of four counts of wire fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for each of two counts of embezzling funds from an organization receiving more than $10,000 in federal benefits. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

In the state case, McGrath faces a maximum penalty of any sentence that is not cruel or unusual for Misconduct by a Public Official, and a maximum of five years in prison for Felony Theft, Felony Theft Scheme, Misappropriation, and for each violation of the Maryland Wiretap Statute. 

Criminal charges are not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment or criminal information is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner and State Prosecutor Charlton Howard commended the FBI and Special Agent Daniel Bralove at the Office of the State Prosecutor for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner and Mr. Howard thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Joyce K. McDonald and Deputy State Prosecutor Sarah R. David, who are prosecuting the federal and state cases, respectively. 

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated October 5, 2021