March 25, 2023

FILE: Prosecutors have accused Roy McGrath of collecting excessive expenses while in office, for illegally engineering a $233,647 severance payment from the Maryland Environmental Service when he left the organization to be Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s chief of staff and for fabricating a memo from Hogan’s office that showed the governor’s approval of the payment. 

Pamela Wood/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A federal manhunt is underway for Roy McGrath, once the chief of staff to ex-Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, after he failed to appear in court Monday for the first day of his trial on wire fraud and embezzlement charges. 

The U.S. Marshals Service launched an interstate fugitive search after a federal judge issued a warrant for McGrath’s arrest. McGrath’s face is plastered on a U.S. Marshals poster, which highlights charges against him for wire fraud, theft in programs receiving federal funds and falsification of records in federal investigations. 

Roy C. McGrath Wanted poster.

U.S. Marshals

McGrath was scheduled to appear in federal court in Baltimore on charges related to his tenure running the Maryland Environmental Service before joining Hogan’s office as chief of staff in 2020. The 2021 indictment against McGrath says he sought to enrich himself personally by using his position as executive director of the agency and his role as chief of staff to the governor to engineer a payment from the agency he shouldn’t have received. Prosecutors also allege that McGrath falsified his time sheets while he took a vacation to Europe and that he stole money for classes at Harvard. McGrath resigned from Hogan’s office weeks after assuming the chief-of-staff job after an investigation found he wasn’t forthcoming about the $230,000 severance package he had received for leaving the quasi-government agency, according to court filings. 

McGrath, 53, has been living in Naples, Florida, and was supposed to travel to Maryland for the trial, according to court records. It’s possible Hogan could testify in the trial. He was Maryland’s governor from 2015 until earlier this year; he has denied knowing about or approving McGrath’s severance payment. 

McGrath has pleaded not guilty on all charges. His attorney, Joseph Murtha, said he doesn’t know where his client is. 

“Unfortunately, I have no idea of Roys’s whereabouts,” Murtha said. “I hope that he is safe, and that we will soon have an opportunity to speak with one another.”

— Rob Legare and Scott McFarlane contributed to this report. 

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