Who Is Roy McGrath? Former Maryland Governor’s Aide Dies In FBI Encounter After Fraud Charges And Manhunt.


Roy McGrath—who served as chief of staff to former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan—died Monday night after an encounter with FBI agents in Tennessee following a three-week interstate manhunt stemming from fraud charges, though his exact cause of death is not yet clear.

Key Facts

The FBI said agents approached McGrath, a wanted fugitive, in a traffic stop around 6:30 p.m. Monday night, reporting an “agent-involved shooting.”

He died in a Tennessee hospital after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds, which his attorney, Joseph Murtha, called an “absolute tragedy.”

McGrath is believed to have shot himself in the encounter with FBI agents Monday night, according to law enforcement documents obtained by the Washington Post, though FBI agents also reportedly fired shots at McGrath, and it remains unclear which gunshots led to his death.

McGrath, who was 53, had been on the run for three weeks after failing to show up to a federal criminal trial in Baltimore last month on wire fraud and embezzlement charges for allegedly defrauding the Maryland Environmental Service out of more than $233,000.

Prosecutors allege McGrath took a $233,000 severance payment from the Maryland Environmental Service before joining Hogan’s administration in 2020, and falsely stated he had Hogan’s approval for the payment (McGrath had denied financial wrongdoing).

Prosecutors also allege he directed those funds—equal to one year’s salary—to an art museum where he sat on the board of directors, to avoid paying a financial pledge with his own money, and had falsified time sheets during two vacations he took on the job in 2019.

McGrath also faced state charges of theft and was accused of violating state wiretap laws by recording private phone calls without consent, with a maximum sentence of five years in prison (he faced up to 20 years in prison for federal charges if found guilty).

He pleaded not guilty to all charges following his indictment in October 2021 and was released on bond—he had been awaiting trial that had been slated for June.

Big Number

$20,000. That’s how much federal authorities were offering as an award to find McGrath, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Key Background

McGrath graduated from the University of Maryland’s Wharton School of Business and became a prominent member of the state’s GOP, forming the Young Republicans club, the Washington Post reported. Hogan appointed him to head the state’s Environmental Service in 2016, an quasi-public agency formed to protect the state’s environment. Hogan named him chief of staff in May 2020, lauding him as an “experienced public and private sector leader with a proven track record of managing at every level of government,” though he resigned three months later after news broke of his severance package. McGrath had previously blamed his downfall on “sad politics of personal destruction.”

Further Reading

Ex-Hogan chief of staff dies after confrontation with FBI, attorneys say (CNN)

Roy McGrath is believed to have shot himself during traffic stop, document says (Washington Post)

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