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Manhunt underway for Larry Hogan's ex-chief of staff after skipping federal fraud trial

Roy McGrath
Roy McGrath
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A manhunt is underway for Roy McGrath, the onetime chief of staff for former Maryland Go. Larry Hogan, after McGrath failed to appear for his federal fraud trial in Baltimore that was scheduled to begin March 13 at 9 a.m. and an arrest warrant was issued.

McGrath lives in Florida and law enforcement agents in Collier County, Fl. conducted a welfare check at the McGrath home just before 10:30 a.m. but he was not there. Baltimore and Washington, D.C. agents with the U.S. Marshals Service are assisting in executing an arrest warrant.

ALSO READ | Gov. Larry Hogan will be called as witness in his former top aide's federal fraud trial

Joseph Murtha, McGrath’s attorney, said he spoke with McGrath Sunday afternoon and was not under any impression there were any issues, noting the two were scheduled to meet at 8:45 a.m. Monday before the trial began. Murtha said McGrath was scheduled to fly from Florida to Baltimore Sunday night but was unsure if he boarded the flight.

“I hope that he is safe, and I know these situations are very stressful, the uncertainty of going to trial can cause people to do things that we don’t believe are appropriate,” Murtha said. “Most importantly, I hope he’s safe.”

McGrath’s federal indictment includes eight different counts, including wire fraud, embezzlement, and allegations of falsifying a government document. McGrath is accused of receiving a severance payment worth one year of his salary of his previous position -- $233,648 as the head of the Maryland Environmental Service, a quasi-government agency.

McGrath is also accused of failure to take vacation time while traveling to Florida and a European cruise. The falsifying documents charge stems from allegations that Hogan knew about McGrath’s severance payment from the MES before moving to the governor’s office, adding that Hogan signed off on the agreement.

Murtha told U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Boardman he was unable to get in touch with his client, adding McGrath did not respond to calls or tests. Judge Boardman dismissed the jury that had been assembled ahead of the scheduled two-week trial around 11 a.m.

“I have no idea where he is. I hope that he is safe, and I hope to speak to him very soon,” Murtha said.

As a condition of McGrath's pre-trial release, he was required to surrender his passport. If arrested, McGrath will be brought back to Baltimore for trial. Currently, the trial is delayed.

FOX45's Alexa Ashwell contributed to this report.

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