FBI agents were seen raiding the home of an ex-GOP staffer after he failed to appear for a Monday federal trial over allegations he used his high-ranking position to steal more than $230,000 in state funds.
Following his failure to show, 53-year-old Roy McGrath was promptly declared a fugitive, leading agents to storm his $610,000 Florida home on Wednesday.
Indicted in 2021 on federal fraud charges, McGrath for years served as the chief of staff for two-term Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who left office this January after eight years of service for the Old Line State.
That said, Hogan, a devout Republican who many had pegged for a presidential run come 2024, saw his last years in office marred by McGrath’s alleged wrongdoings – which included a fraudulent $233,647 severance payment prosecutors say he paid himself when leaving another state job to take on the posh political gig.
That payment hit McGrath’s bank account in June 2020, after he falsely told his former employer, the Maryland Environmental Service, that the then governor had approved the payment.
Following his failure to show, 53-year-old Roy McGrath was promptly declared a fugitive, leading agents to storm his $610,000 Florida home on Wednesday
Indicted in 2021 on federal fraud charges, McGrath for years served as the chief of staff for two-term Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (seen here earlier this month), who left office this January after eight years of service for the Old Line State
McGrath would resign from Hogan’s office in April 2020 after the six-figure payment was reported, and months later would be slapped with a federal wire fraud charge.
He also faces multiple additional fraud and embezzlement charges connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses that prosecutors say the disgraced aide lined his pockets during his tenure as Hogan’s top aide.
Set to appear in Baltimore for the start of his criminal trial Monday, McGrath instead left his attorney standing alone on the steps of the city’s federal courthouse, leading US Marshals to release a wanted poster for the ex-Hogan staffer a day later.
Less than 48 hours later, federal agents were seen swarming the three-bedroom Naples home that McGrath shares with his wife, Laura Bruner, as the woman hopelessly watched.
McGrath, however, was noticeably absent – meaning the manhunt for the alleged fraudster continues.
Prosecutors maintain that he has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from the state, including the previously mentioned severance payment he obtained after leaving his post as executive director of the Maryland Environmental Service.
The state further alleges that McGrath also fibbed about the hours he worked over the course of his employment, taking multiple vacations on the state’s dime.
Feds swarmed this Naples home that McGrath shares with his wife Wednesday, less than 48 hours after he did not turn up to court. The couple moved to $610,000 home in 2020, after the scandal surfaced and McGrath was released on bond
Set to appear in Baltimore for the start of his criminal trial Monday, McGrath instead left his attorney standing alone on the steps of the city’s federal courthouse, leading US Marshals to release this wanted poster later that day
During those excursions, McGrath’s 2021 indictment alleges, the ex-Hogan staffer spent funds designated for the state of Maryland on his own ‘personal expenses.’
That spending came to light after a sprawling report from The Baltimore Sun in the summer of 2020, that unmasked how McGrath had used his position as both director of MES and the governor’s chief of staff to ‘personally enrich’ himself with the fraudulent payments.
The Sun’s report saw McGrath’s time as the head of Hogan’s office unceremoniously cut short, after only 11 weeks. He would resign four days later, while facing a federal investigation.
At the time, Hogan, who served two consecutive terms from 2015 to 2023, repeatedly denied knowing or approving of the severance payment unmasked by the Sun.
Soon enough, federal investigators found enough evidence to indict McGrath in October 2021, on five counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft, and one count of falsifying a document.
Arrested shortly thereafter, McGrath was promptly released on bond – though was required to turn in his passport as a condition of release.
During that time, McGrath relocated to his current digs in southwest Florida, in a ritzy city known for its high-end shopping and golf courses.
It was there that his wife watched helplessly as FBI agents descended on the residence Wednesday morning, where agents were likely looking to glean any clues about McGrath’s current whereabouts.
On Sunday, the Sun published a video showing the raid, spurring a spokesperson for the bureau to confirm on Thursday that agents, in fact, ‘conducted court authorized activity at that residence’.
The rep declined to elaborate on the operation when asked.
McGrath’s lawyer, Joseph Murtha, would later reveal that McGrath’s wife was cooperating with authorities, and was confused as he was as to his disappearance.
‘She seemed upset and bewildered,’ Murtha said after speaking with Bruner.
Murtha added that he had no reason to believe that McGrath would elect to skip court , despite facing up to 20 years in federal prison on each of the five wire-fraud counts, a maximum of 10 years on each of the two embezzlement charges and up to 20 years on the document falsification count.
He said they had a conversation about the case on Sunday evening, and that he had expected to see him on the courthouse steps come Monday morning.
The lawyer said the ex-GOP staffer was supposed to board a plane later that night.
‘I haven’t a clue. I didn’t see this coming,’ he said. ‘This behavior is so out of the ordinary for him. Obviously his personal safety is a concern.’
A spokesperson for the US Marshals Service did not immediately return a request for comment Friday. The search for McGrath, meanwhile, continues.