Maryland Democrat Charged with Wire Fraud Three Days After Resigning

A Democratic delegate who resigned from Maryland’s General Assembly three days ago has been charged with federal wire fraud, in connection with the alleged solicitation of $22,000 in campaign funds that were funneled to a PayPal account and weren’t disclosed in required financial filings.

Tawanna Gaines, 67, was a “Maryland State Delegate from December 2001 through the present, representing District 22, which covered portions of Prince George’s County, Maryland.”

Gaines’ still-active House of Delegates profile illustrates the extent of her public office experience and involvement:

Member of House of Delegates since December 21, 2001. Vice-Chair, Appropriations Committee, 2015- (member, 2003-; public safety & administration subcommittee, 2003; oversight committee on personnel, 2003-; vice-chair, health & human resources subcommittee, 2004-06; chair, transportation & the environment subcommittee, 2007-19; chair, capital budget subcommittee, 2019-, member, 2004-). Member, Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, 2011-; Joint Subcommittee on Program Open Space and Agricultural Land Preservation, 2015-; Spending Affordability Committee, 2015-. Member, Judiciary Committee, 2002-03 (civil law & procedure subcommittee, 2002-03). Deputy Majority Whip, 2003-07. Member, Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, 2005. Assistant Majority Leader, 2015-16. Member, Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, 2016-18. Vice-Chair, Prince George’s County Delegation, 2007-08 (law enforcement & state-appointed boards committee, 2002; bi-county committee, 2003-08, 2015-16; washington suburban sanitary commission committee, 2008-12; county affairs committee, 2013-14; education committee, 2017-). Member, Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland (formerly Maryland Legislative Black Caucus), 2001-; Women Legislators of Maryland, 2001- (executive board, 2004-; legislative committee, 2006; treasurer, 2006-07, 2009-12; president-elect, 2013-14; president, 2014-15); Maryland Veterans Caucus, 2005-. Member, National Conference of State Legislatures (redistricting & elections committee, 2005-).

A criminal information, which you can read below in full, stated the facts surrounding the alleged offense as follows:

On the alleged scheme to defraud and the manner and means thereof:

As the Washington Post noted, news of Gaines’s resignation was accompanies only by a hint of impropriety.

“As elected officials, we have an obligation to uphold the public trust, both in office and in our campaigns. We cannot sacrifice that trust for personal gain for ourselves or our family members,” House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) said.

Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years behind bars.

Tawanna Gaines information by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Image via Maryland House of Delegates]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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