Federal prosecutors seeking 2 years for Pugh associate

Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Federal prosecutors are seeking two years in prison for the last person to be sentenced in the case against former Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh, according to a sentencing memorandum filed this week.

Roslyn Wedington, 51, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 8 after pleading guilty to tax fraud in 2019 for crimes related to a nonprofit job training center where Pugh served on the board of directors.

Prosecutors asked in their filing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore that Wedington receive the lowest sentence of the three people convicted in the Pugh case.

Prosecutors say Wedington “abused her position as the executive director of a not-for-profit organization, the Maryland Center for Adult Training (MCAT), in order to avoid paying taxes and having her wages garnished and did so over a number of years.” She managed to avoid paying $120,000 to the government during that time.

Gary Brown, a former Pugh aide, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison for his role in the MCAT scheme, as well as a fraud scheme related to Pugh’s Healthy Holly children’s books. Pugh, meanwhile, was sentenced to three years.

Pugh sat on MCAT’s board of directors from 2001 until 2017, including serving as its chair.

Wedington’s attorney, Brandon Mead, told The Baltimore Sun Thursday that he plans to ask that she not be incarcerated and instead serve a sentence of supervised release.

Mead previously said that Wedington was consumed by debt, including student loans and health care bills, and “she unfortunately made some wrong decisions.”

Prosecutors referred in their memo to Wedington as a “rare fraud recidivist,” noting she was convicted in 2004 for stealing $852,000 from a beloved Park Heights dentist while working as his secretary. She presented checks to Dr. Ernest Colvin to sign, then would add a thousand dollars to the amount.

“The defendant’s earlier experience with the criminal justice system failed to deter her from engaging in fraud,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Wise wrote. “Perhaps this case will.”

Wedington had part of her salary from MCAT garnished in 2013 to repay debts. To avoid such garnishments moving forward, she asked Brown to move her “off payroll” at MCAT and instead funnel money directly to her.

According to Wedington’s plea agreement, Brown directed the center’s payroll provider to pay him the amount of her salary — more than $80,000 a year — as an independent contractor. He then gave the money to Wedington in cash. Brown eventually gained authority to write checks from MCAT bank accounts, and starting writing Wedington checks directly.