As the rest of us in the Boston area were experiencing the upcoming summer heat, a few individuals were feeling heat of another kind, courtesy of Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.
District Attorney Leone announced last week that a Malden Treasury employee and nine others have been indicted for allegedly embezzling more than $518,000 in city property tax receipts.
Gia D., 27, of Georgetown (hereinafter the “Defendant”), was charged by a Middlesex grand jury on one count of larceny over $250 and a separate count of conspiracy to commit larceny.
The Defendant and a co-defendant, Alan V., 32 of Malden (hereinafter, “Co-Defendant One”), had been arrested last November. Since then, however, the investigation has continued and has now resulted in indictments for the Defendant, Co-Defendant 1 and 8 others in the same alleged conspiracy.
As they were indicted by a grand jury, these are felony charges.
According to District Attorney Leone, none of those indicted, other than the Defendant, are Malden city employees.
The alleged white collar conspiracy involved funds that kept in the Malden Treasury that had come from property owners who had overpaid their property taxes. In 2006, Malden began publishing the list of residents who had overpaid their taxes so that the overpayments could be reclaimed.
Of course, the whole idea was that the funds would be reclaimed by the people who had overpaid. According to the Commonwealth, however, the Defendant and company thought they had a better idea.
You see, the Defendant, who worked for the Treasurer’s Office, oversaw the payment of those funds.
The Commonwealth says that the Defendant would arrange for Malden city checks to be issued to people who were not entitled to the refunds, who were not on the city’s list and who had not overpaid their city property taxes. The Malden checks would be issued payable to proxy payees and then cashed by them.
On November 18, 2008, the Defendant and Co-Defendant 1 allegedly met and the Defendant provided Co-Defendant 1 with one of the checks. The arrests took place after Co-Defendant 1 tried cashing one of the checks for $3,500.
Further investigation allegedly revealed that eight other defendants also received and cashed the false checks.
Embezzlement, as we have covered in the past, is a white collar crime of theft. Larceny is another word for that theft. It indicates that, while no violence took place (as in the case of a robbery), but some kind of plot allegedly did. The “plot” is called a conspiracy and each person involved in that conspiracy is held responsible for what everyone else in the conspiracy did to help further the conspiracy.
Therefore, while some people might expect that each alleged recipient of these checks can be held accountable for only their particular portion of the proceeds, such is not the case. Technically, each of the defendants can be held accountable on all actions which took place within the conspiracy.
Very likely, when the Defendant and Co-Defendant 1 were arrested in November, the other alleged co-conspirators breathed a sigh of relief that they had not been charged.
As you can see, such a breath was premature.
Particularly in the case of white collar crimes, the initial arrests are often merely a starting point to a criminal investigation. Given this post-Madoff era, I believe you will see that these investigations are even more extensive than in the past, particularly when the alleged wrongdoing involves government or supervised funds.
Not that such charges inspired chuckling before, it is even less of a laughing matter now. If you could potentially appear to be tied to a scheme which involves such criminal activity, do not simply wipe your brow if you missed getting round up in the initial arrest.
Chances are, it was, indeed, only the initial arrest.
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible moment to look carefully look into the investigation and where it may be heading. Also critical help would be to advise you as to whether you truly are at risk and, if so, what you should do about it.
I have seen a great many clients who have contacted me after they were charged or made statements to investigators which would later come back to haunt them. It’s kind of hard to prevent charges that have already materialized.
One thing to keep in mind with these cases is that they not only bring the gift of a criminal record. People do go to jail for these types of crimes. The convictions also can end a profession…particularly one that is overseen by a licensing board.
Simply put, careers and liberty often are ended when the charges begin in these cases. Act pro-actively. It is that important.
The full article of this story can be found at http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/19263170/detail.html