A former Maryland state lawmaker's daughter, who also was her campaign treasurer, has been charged with misusing campaign funds — the same charge to which the legislator recently pleaded guilty.
Federal prosecutors filed a wire fraud charge against Anitra Edmond on Monday, less than two weeks after former state Del. Tawanna Gaines pleaded guilty to a related charge that she used campaign funds for her personal benefit.
Since 2005, Edmond has been treasurer of "Friends of Tawanna P. Gaines," the Prince George's County Democrat's campaign committee, a court filing says. Edmond also took campaign funds for her personal use and failed to disclose contributions on state campaign finance reports, the filing says.
Stuart Berman, an attorney for Edmond, said in an email Tuesday that he and his client have no comment.
US Attorney for Maryland Robert Hur speaks after MD Delegate Tawanna Gaines pleads guilty to wire fraud by misappropriating more than $22,000 from her campaign account for personal expenses. She will be sentenced in January. How she spent the money on #News4 @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/q6ogGarJMy— Chris Gordon (@ChrisGordonNews) October 17, 2019
"It's a sad day," Maryland State Sen. Paul Pinsky said. They worked in the same district, and he helped introduce Gaines to state politics.
"I've seen her grow up," Pinsky said about Edmond. "Obviously I was close with her mom. It came as a shock two or three weeks ago when the news came out that there was some illegal, nefarious situation going on. I didn't expect it. No one did."
Gaines, 67, of Berwyn Heights, had served in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2001 and was vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee. She resigned less than week before she was charged on Oct. 7 in a criminal information.
Prosecutors said Gaines spent campaign money on personal expenses including fast food, hair styling, dental work, a cover for her swimming pool and an Amazon Prime membership.
Edmond, 43, of New Carrollton, Maryland, also was charged in an information, which typically signals a plea deal has been reached.
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Gaines faces a sentence of up to 20 years following her Oct. 17 guilty plea to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang is scheduled to sentence her Jan. 3. Chuang said sentencing guidelines for Gaines' case call for eight to 33 months in prison, depending on the court's calculation of her criminal history.
Gaines' plea agreement calls for her to pay back at least $22,565. The information in Edmond's case says prosecutors are seeking more than $35,000 in forfeiture against her if she is convicted.
"I take full responsibility for what I've done," Gaines told reporters as she left the courthouse after her plea hearing. "I don't want any of you to judge the Maryland General Assembly by that. There are honorable people working there. I want to apologize to them for putting myself in this position."