Federal prosecutors pursuing public corruption charges against former Maryland state Sen. Thomas Bromwell are trying to seize the $400,000 buyout he received when he stepped down as head of the state’s largest insurance fund for injured workers.
U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein argues in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore that Bromwell’s severance package from the Injured Workers Insurance Fund should be targeted for forfeiture.
Bromwell and his wife, Mary Pat, were indicted in October 2005 on racketeering conspiracy charges. Prosecutors allege the Baltimore County Democrat cashed in on his ability to steer multimillion-dollar projects by accepting bribes from David Stoffregen, president of the construction company Poole and Kent.
Last year, federal prosecutors moved to seize thousands of dollars’ worth of assets from the Bromwells and Stoffregen. The move crippled Stoffregen’s ability to pay for his own attorney, and he was forced to seek a federal public defender.
Stoffregen pleaded guilty in November to racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud and filing a false tax return — one of six guilty pleas in cases related to the investigation of the Bromwells.
The conspiracy case includes a forfeiture action against the Bromwells that has already frozen most of their assets.
Attorneys for the Bromwells have appealed that action, arguing that it hurt their clients’ ability to defend themselves. Their appeal is still pending.
In a separate filing late last month, the Bromwells’ lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz to stop prosecutors from allowing a jury to hear secret tapes made of Thomas Bromwell.
Motz has yet to rule on that filing or on the latest forfeiture request. The Bromwells are scheduled to go on trial in March.
The indictment shows that the Bromwells could be liable for as much as $5.6 million in proceeds that prosecutors allege were obtained illegally.
Speaking generally about forfeiture actions, Rosenstein told The (Baltimore) Sun that “the principle here is that once there is an indictment, the law allows the government to seize assets to make sure that they are available in the event that the courts find that they should ultimately be forfeited.”
Information from: The (Baltimore) Sun,
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