Former top aide to then-Md. Gov. Hogan dies during arrest in Tennessee

A former Maryland political aide wanted on corruption charges died Monday in Tennessee after he was wounded during a confrontation with law enforcement.

Roy McGrath was the former chief of staff to then-Gov. Larry Hogan. He had been on the run since March after failing to appear at trial on charges that included fraud, theft and falsifying records.

In an email to WTOP News, McGrath’s lawyer Joseph Murtha said that the FBI has confirmed his client’s death.

William Brennan, an attorney for McGrath’s wife, Laura Bruner, also confirmed the death and said she was “absolutely distraught,” The Associated Press reported.

“It is a tragic ending of the past three weeks of uncertainty,” Murtha said. “I think it is important to stress that Roy never wavered about his innocence. ”

A spokesperson with the FBI said that the arrest happened in Knoxville, Tennessee, on the 10700 block of Kingston Pike at Lovell Road.

The FBI said that during McGrath’s arrest, he sustained an injury and was taken to the hospital.

It was not immediately clear whether McGrath’s injury was self-inflicted or as a result of an exchange of gunfire.

“The FBI takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously,” the bureau said in a statement, adding that the shooting is under investigation by its Inspection Division.

In a statement, Hogan said he and his wife, Yumi, “are deeply saddened by this tragic situation. We are praying for Mr. McGrath’s family and loved ones.”

Earlier this month, a $20,000 reward from the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service had been offered for information in the search for McGrath.

McGrath failed to appear in court on March 13, prompting a federal judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.

A federal search for McGrath, 53, ensued, including in Naples, Florida, where he had been living and from where he was supposed to travel to Maryland for the trial, CBS News reported. FBI agents also raided his Florida home as the search continued, The Associated Press reported.

McGrath faced more than 30 state and federal criminal charges for wire fraud, misconduct in office and improper use of state funds, according to indictments filed in 2021.

Before McGrath became Hogan’s chief of staff, he was the head of the Maryland Environmental Service.

He was accused of fraudulently securing a $233,648 severance payment, equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland Environmental Service. He falsely told the agency’s board that the governor had approved the payment, The Associated Press reported. Hogan said that he did not sign off on the severance payment, Maryland Matters reported.

He was also accused of fraud and embezzlement connected to roughly $170,000 in expenses. McGrath pleaded not guilty.

He resigned just 11 weeks into the job as Hogan’s chief of staff in 2020 after the payments became public.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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