By Laura Studley, Laura Dolan and Mallika Kallingal, CNN
Updated: Fri, 14 Jan 2022 18:56:37 GMT
The chief prosecutor for the city of Baltimore has been indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements on loan applications for the purchase of two vacation homes in Florida, according to court documents filed Thursday.
State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who gained national attention in 2015 for charging officers in the in-custody death of Freddie Gray, now herself faces perjury charges over documents she submitted to apply for loans against her retirement plan in 2020, according to the indictment.
In doing so, Mosby, whose term in office ends this year, allegedly used a withdrawal option created under the CARES Act, passed to help people who were financially impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mosby insisted that she was "unequivocally innocent," in a news conference Friday, painting the indictment as a politically motivated attack just months before an election. She did not address the charges in detail, acknowledging that there were some things she couldn't say.
"But I wanted the people of Baltimore to hear it from me: I've done nothing wrong," she told reporters. "I did not defraud anyone to take my money from my retirement savings and I did not lie on any mortgage application."
When Mosby applied for two loans against her 457(b) retirement plan, she signed documents that indicated she "experienced adverse financial consequences" due to Covid-19, according to the indictment. However, the indictment said her gross income in 2020 was $247,955.58, an increase of nearly $10,000 from the previous year.
Mosby received $36,000 in May and $45,000 in December of 2020 from her retirement account, according to the indictment.
The money Mosby received allegedly went toward the purchase of two vacation homes in Florida, and she is also charged with making false statements on the mortgage applications, according to the indictment.
She secured a $490,500 mortgage in 2020 and a $428,400 mortgage in 2021, but she did not disclose in the applications that she owed more than $45,000 in federal back taxes, the indictment says.
Additionally, Mosby allegedly stated that she would be the primary resident of one of the homes for at least a year in order to receive a lower mortgage rate. But she had already entered an agreement with a vacation home management company to rent out the house the week before, the indictment alleges.
She sold one of the properties in November for a $150,000 profit, the Baltimore Sun reported.
"Please don't be fooled," Mosby said at the news conference. "We are now five months from a next election and this indictment is merely a political ploy by my political adversaries to unseat me. Please also understand that I will never let that happen without a fight." She did not take any questions from reporters.
Mosby's comments echoed an earlier statement by her lawyer, who had also said she is innocent of the charges.
"I remain confident that once all the evidence is presented, that she will prevail against these bogus charges -- charges that are rooted in personal, political and racial animus five months from her election," attorney A. Scott Bolden said in a statement.
If convicted, Mosby faces a maximum sentence of five years in a federal prison for each perjury count and a maximum of 30 years for each count of making false statements on a mortgage application, according to the US Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland. She could also be forced to forfeit any property found to have been obtained by fraud, the indictment says.
"We're not commenting beyond what's on the indictment. It speaks for itself," Marcia Murphy, spokesperson for Maryland US Attorney Erek Barron, told CNN.
Mosby will have an initial appearance in the US District Court in Baltimore, but the hearing has not yet been scheduled, according to the US Attorney's office.
Mosby was elected as the state's attorney for Baltimore City in 2014 and reelected in 2018.
In 2015, she charged six Baltimore police officers in the death of Gray, who died in police custody after suffering a neck injury while being driven unrestrained in the back of a police van. His death became a symbol of the Black community's mistrust of police and triggered days of protests and riots in Baltimore. None of the six officers arrested was convicted.