Edgewater Fugitive Roy McGrath Likely Wrote 2 Books About Himself While On Run: Reports
Patch reporter Megan VerHelst wrote this story.
BALTIMORE, MD — A mysterious biographer who published two e-books about Roy McGrath when he was on the run from federal authorities was likely an alter ego for the fugitive after he skipped his March court appearance on federal theft and fraud charges, according to multiple reports citing newly unsealed search warrants.
McGrath, an Edgewater resident and the ex-chief of staff to former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, was scheduled to appear in court on March 13 but didn't attend. After three weeks on the run, McGrath died on April 3 when he was shot twice — once by himself and again by the FBI — in a confrontation with federal agents in Tennessee.
Before his death, federal authorities were searching the southern United States for McGrath, who faced an eight-count federal indictment on charges of wire fraud, including securing a $233,648 severance payment equal to one year of salary as the head of Maryland Environmental Service, according to the Department of Justice.
During the search, authorities searching email accounts and phone numbers associated with McGrath were able to link the fugitive to a so-called author named Ryan C. Cooper, who published two books about McGrath as he evaded federal agents, according to newly unsealed court records obtained by the Baltimore Sun.
According to reports, FBI agents connected Cooper's email address to a Visa card belonging to McGrath. Investigators also wrote that cell phone signals associated with activity from Cooper's email address showed "travel to a variety of hotels in different states on the Eastern seaboard through at least March 21, 2023," the Baltimore Banner reported.
Investigators also determined Cooper's email address was registered on March 13, the same day McGrath's arraignment was scheduled.
"The government believes Mr. McGrath acted alone," authorities wrote.
According to the Sun, McGrath had been on the run for more than a week when Cooper reached out to reporters from a different email address to promote "Betrayed: The True Story of Maryland Environmental Service," a sequel to the first book, "Betrayed: The True Story of Roy McGrath."
When contacted by the Sun, the person claiming to be Cooper declined to give his exact age or specify where he worked and lived. The Sun could not find any public record for Ryan C. Cooper based on the information provided by the purported author.
Even McGrath's own attorney, Joseph Murtha, believed Cooper could have been McGrath.
"He never said anything to me about it. It may be the last thing he wanted to tell an attorney, 'Hey, I'm putting a lot more stuff in writing," Murtha told the Banner in March. "We never had any conversation about him writing a book."
Murtha continued, "Maybe Ryan Cooper is really Roy McGrath."
Former Gov. Hogan appointed McGrath in 2016 as executive director of Maryland Environmental Service, a state-owned agency that provides environmental services to state and local government agencies, federal government entities, and private clients. McGrath resigned from the agency on May 31, 2020, and became Hogan's chief of staff a day later.
Charges were filed against McGrath in the fall of 2021.
The FBI concluded its investigation into McGrath's death on July 20, though the results remain confidential, according to a separate Banner report.
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