BALTIMORE, MD — A Maryland lawmaker has been indicted for allegedly accepting bribes from a developer. The money was provided by the FBI, which used a confidential informant in the case.
Senator Nathaniel Thomas Oaks, 70, of Baltimore, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday, May 31, on nine counts of wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and violations of the Travel Act, officials said.
The allegations stem from activities that occurred from September 2016 to January 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, and came after Oaks was introduced to an FBI informant posing as a Texas businessman in fall 2015. Their meeting was consensually recorded at a restaurant in Pikesville, officials said, and subsequent conversations were also recorded with consent.
During the initial meeting, Oaks offered to assist with business development in Maryland. Then he allegedly accepted payments from the "developer," who worked for a real company cooperating with the FBI.
According to the U.S. Attorney, Oaks took $15,300 in bribes.
At the time, Oaks was serving in the Maryland House of Delegates; he was a member of the House of Delegates from 1994 until February 2017, when he was appointed to the Maryland Senate.
Oaks sent two letters on his House of Delegates letterhead in 2016 supporting a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) project in Baltimore City. The letters "contained materially false and fraudulent representations," the U.S. Attorney said in a statement, for which federal officials allege he was paid $10,300.
The day he filed a bond bill with the Maryland Department of Legislative Services requesting $250,000 for the project, the "developer" made a $5,000 cash payment to Oaks, according to the affidavit.
He was also recorded in several telephone conversations discussing his need for money, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.
For each count of wire fraud and each count of honest services wire fraud, Oaks faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. For each count of violating the Travel Act, officials say he faces five years in prison.
Photo of Nathaniel T. Oaks via Public Domain.