State Senator Nathaniel Thomas Oaks (D), 70, was indicted on bribery and nine federal fraud counts on Wednesday. The indictment stems from a criminal complaint that was filed against Oaks a little less than two months ago.
Oaks allegedly accepted payments in exchange of utilizing his influence or official position to benefit a person on business-related matters. The longtime Maryland lawmaker was charged with five counts for violations of the Travel Act, single count of honest services wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud in connection to his actions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The Travel Act forbids the use of foreign or interstate facilities or U.S. mail – in this case it was mobile phones – for the purpose of criminal activities.An individual cooperating with investigation introduced Oaks to an FBI source, the court records show. The source represented himself as a businessperson from out of town, who was interested in acquiring contracts with HUD through a Baltimore-based, minority-owned business.
The meeting took place at the Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Pikesville. With the consent of the source and cooperating defendant, the conversation was recorded.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Oaks offered to assist by supplying documents on the House of Delegates letterhead, which would contain false information. For the illegal act, Oaks received a total of $10,300 in cash bribes in May 2016 and again in July.
According to the indictments, in September 2016, Oaks accepted a $5,000 cash bribe in return for filing a $250,000 bond bill request with the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) for a project the source was trying to obtain.
If found guilty, Oaks will face up to 20 years in prison for the single count of honest services wire fraud, 20 years for each count of wire fraud and five years for each count of violations of the Travel Act.