Baltimore State's Attorney finally indicted

AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File

We’ve provided plenty of coverage here for many years about Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, not much of which painted her in a very good light. She first rose to national attention during the botched handling of the Freddie Gray riots in 2015 and later drew criticism for her attacks on the Baltimore police and her “decriminalization” of many crimes. But in recent years, she more frequently made news for all of the ongoing investigations into her personal conduct and allegations of inappropriate or even illegal personal financial dealings. (Her husband, the current City Council President, has been caught up in them as well.) This week, the hammer appears to have finally fallen, and Mosby was indicted on multiple counts, though not over the allegations previously made against her. Prosecutors believe they have her for abuse of a COVID relief program and committing perjury when filing applications for mortgages. (NY Post)

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the city’s top prosecutor, was indicted on Thursday on federal charges of perjury and filing false mortgage applications related to her purchase of two Florida vacation homes.

Mosby, a Democrat elected to her post in 2015, is accused of falsely claiming twice to have suffered a work-related financial hardship from COVID-19 in order to request early withdrawals totaling $90,000 from her city employee retirement account.

In both instances, the indictment stated, Mosby fraudulently cited a federal CARES Act provision allowing for emergency distributions of up to $100,000 from her retirement plan in the event of a furlough, layoff, quarantine, reduced work hours, lack of childcare or impact on one’s own business caused by COVID-19.

The current charges do seem to be related, if only tangentially, to some of the previous allegations, but it’s a long and twisted tale. Back in 2020, the State Attorney and her husband, Nick Mosby, were hit by the IRS for somehow “forgetting” to pay significant amounts of their taxes for at least three straight years. It was a rather stunning “omission” when you consider that the couple’s combined annual income (paid entirely via the generosity of the taxpayers) adds up to nearly half a million dollars per year, and that’s before all of the “expenses” that the city covers as a benefit of their jobs.

By the spring of 2021, a federal investigation had already suggested that the Mosby’s were doing quite well for themselves, considering their seeming inability to pay their taxes. In the preceding six months they had somehow managed to purchase two vacation homes in Florida worth a combined total of more than a million dollars. (Good work if you can get it, eh?)

They couldn’t stop asking for money, however. The Mosbys launched a legal defense fund in August of last year, asking the public to help pick up their attorneys’ fees. When the media began seriously reporting on these allegations, Marilyn Mosby threatened to sue a local Fox News station for covering the stories. Imagine the nerve of reporters talking about potential fraud by an elected official!

Now the chickens may be finally coming home to roost. That brief history lesson I just provided should offer the context required to understand the charges being filed this week. Rather than getting her for tax evasion (which may still come at some point), the feds discovered that her purchases of the two Florida vacation homes were allegedly handled in violation of the law in a couple of ways. In order to come up with the down payments, Mosby tapped into her city retirement plan by claiming hardship under the COVID CARES Act, which allows for such withdrawals to help people who lost their jobs or were otherwise financially impacted by the government’s pandemic shutdown orders. Neither Mosby nor her husband has ever missed a single, taxpayer-funded paycheck through the entirety of the pandemic.

She also allegedly lied on the forms she filed to apply for the mortgages. She was required to disclose that she and her husband were currently delinquent on a significant amount of their federal taxes. Failing to do so is what earned her the perjury charges.

The corruption in the municipal government of Baltimore is legendary and we’ve covered it here more times than I can count. It’s been going on for decades and it involves many public figures at the highest levels beyond just the Mosbys. (Remember: The award-winning HBO series The Wire was actually a documentary, not a drama.) So will these developments be enough for the Mosbys to finally be sent packing? Don’t bet your last dollar on it. Baltimore’s residents keep sending the same dubious crews of people back to office every election cycle. And if there’s a way for the Mosbys to slip the noose on these charges, you can rest assured that they’ll find it.