Home National news Marilyn Mosby sentenced to home detention in mortgage fraud case

Marilyn Mosby sentenced to home detention in mortgage fraud case

Mosby, 44, gained national attention in 2015 for charging six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man fatally injured in police custody. Gray’s death led to riots and protests in the city. After three officers were acquitted, Mosby’s office dropped charges against the other three officers.

Following her conviction for mortgage fraud and perjury, former Baltimore’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby received a 12-month home detention sentence and two years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby handed down the sentence on May 23 after a protracted and highly publicized legal battle that has stirred significant debate over race, politics, and justice.

Mosby, 44, gained national attention in 2015 for charging six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a Black man fatally injured in police custody. Gray’s death led to riots and protests in the city. After three officers were acquitted, Mosby’s office dropped charges against the other three officers.

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Mosby withdrew $90,000 from Baltimore’s deferred compensation plan and used it to make down payments on vacation homes in Kissimmee and Longboat Key, Florida. Prosecutors argued that Mosby improperly accessed the funds under provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act by falsely claiming that the pandemic had harmed her travel-oriented side business.

Mosby’s sentencing argument said the retirement funds came from her own income and that no one was defrauded because she paid an early withdrawal penalty and all federal taxes on the money. The government said that money remained the property of the city until she was legally eligible, and her perjury harmed everyone who followed the rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mosby’s mortgage fraud conviction stems from a $5,000 ‘gift letter’ she submitted when taking a loan to buy the Longboat Key property. Prosecutors said the letter falsely stated that Mosby’s husband was giving her a $5,000 gift for the closing when it was her own money.

Judge Griggsby rejected the defense’s argument that the forfeiture amounted to an excessive fine, ruling that Mosby must surrender the assets gained through “her crimes.” The judge did allow Mosby to collect back more than $40,000 that she used as a down payment for the Longboat Key condo, but the mortgage of $428,000 was fraudulently obtained. While the government argued that Mosby should not be entitled to any of the condo’s appreciated value (it has swelled hundreds of thousands of dollars since it was purchased) she said Mosby could recover 10% since that matched the proportion of the down payment. Griggsby said there “has been a significant harm to the public because of Mrs. Mosby’s role at the time as both an elected official and an officer of the court.”

Political strategist Shermichael Singleton questioned the basis of Mosby’s prosecution. “Was there a victim? Did any agency suffer financial loss? Did Mosby use public funds?” he asked, rhetorically. Answering “no” to each, Singleton argued that Mosby should not have been charged, let alone prosecuted. “I keep posting about this because this shows how screwed up our justice system is and how prosecutors have too much power and discretion,” Singleton said.

Federal prosecutors argued that Mosby deserved prison because, unlike others convicted of white-collar crimes, she expressed no remorse or contrition and tried to delegitimize the case against her. They recommended a 20-month prison sentence for Mosby, who served two terms as the state’s attorney for Baltimore and lost a reelection bid after her 2022 indictment. Mosby’s attorneys urged the judge to spare her from prison, arguing that she is the only public official prosecuted in Maryland for federal offenses “that entail no victim, no financial loss, and no use of public funds.”

“Jail is not justice for Marilyn Mosby,” her lawyers wrote.

Mosby’s supporters said she had already lost a great deal, including her marriage, her career, her campaign for re-election as the state’s attorney, and potentially her law license. Those who testified on her behalf included Mosby’s brother and sister; her former communications director for the state’s attorney’s office; a former colleague who led the prosecution of the police officers in the Gray case; and fellow attorneys, including nationally recognized civil rights lawyer Ben Crump.

“To sentence her to prison for being convicted of minor, non-violent offenses with no victims would be a grave injustice, and it would magnify the trauma of her two beautiful daughters,” Crump said. “The crux of the matter is this: a minor white-collar crime in which many others have been convicted of and sentenced to a slap on the wrist.”

Noted Baltimore Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon said: “We need Marilyn Mosby in our community. We need her experience, her knowledge, and her training. We need her love for her community. Her love for her family. Her desire for her to become what she ought to be.”

Mosby’s two teenage daughters, both dressed in white to match their mother, walked beside her through a sea of media cameras. Her ex-husband, Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby, arrived moments later. Dozens of Mosby supporters waited outside and applauded as she arrived with her family and entered the courthouse without answering questions from reporters. “We need her love for her community; her love for her family; her desire for her to become what she ought to be,” Gordon said.

Mosby applied for a presidential pardon earlier this month. In a letter to President Joe Biden, the Congressional Black Caucus expressed support for her cause. “As a nation that leads by example, our justice system must not be weaponized to prevent progress toward a more perfect union,” wrote Rep. Steven Horsford, a Nevada Democrat who chairs the CBC. “We share your desire for racial equity, Mr. President, and this Trump-era prosecution is in direct conflict with a justice system that serves us all.”

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