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FBI raids home of former Gov. Hogan’s chief of staff

Two days after Roy McGrath, former chief of staff to former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, failed to appear in court on federal corruption charges, FBI agents raided his Florida home Wednesday as their nationwide search continues. .

McGrath, 53, was declared a fugitive after he disappeared Monday the 13th, leaving his attorney, Joseph Murtha, alone on the steps of Baltimore federal court.

The attorney said he believed McGrath planned to fly from Florida to Maryland Sunday night for a court appearance Monday morning, but that did not happen. Rather than begin jury selection according to the trial schedule, Judge Deborak Boardman issued a warrant for McGrath’s arrest and dismissed potential jurors.

On Tuesday the 14th, the US Marshals Service announced that it would launch an interstate search for McGrath, who was indicted in 2021 on federal fraud charges.

He is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state, including a fraudulent $233,647 severance payment he obtained after leaving his position as executive director of the Maryland Environmental Service to become Hogan’s chief of staff in June 2020, according to grand jury indictment. He is also accused of lying about how he was working while taking multiple vacations and using state funds for personal expenses, the report said.

McGrath resigned from the Hogan administration in August 2020 after news of his unusual severance pay became public. Following his arrest, McGrath was released on bail. He was asked to hand over his passport as a condition of his release, his lawyer said.

McGrath later moved to Naples, Florida, where his wife, Laura Bruner, watched as FBI agents raided their home Wednesday morning.

Murtha, McGrath’s attorney, confirmed the search in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon, saying officers were likely looking for something to indicate McGrath’s current whereabouts. An FBI spokesperson said the agents “conducted court-authorized activities at that residence” but declined to provide further details.

Murtha, who was recently in contact with McGrath’s wife, said she has been cooperating with authorities since his disappearance and was present at her home Wednesday when officers conducted the search.

“She seemed upset and bewildered,” Murtha said.

The lawyer said he had no reason to believe his client would not go to court and revealed that they had a substantive discussion about the case on Sunday night. McGrath was supposed to board a plane later that night, he reiterated.

McGrath was appointed by Hogan to serve as executive director of the Maryland Environmental Service in December 2016. According to federal and state prosecutors, McGrath personally enriched himself by leveraging his positions of trust as director of the environmental agency and Hogan’s top adviser.