Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

FORMER HAVERHILL CITY COUNCILLOR GOES TO PRISON FOR THEFT

If you are one of the many who still believe that convictions for “white collar crime” such as embezzlement or larceny do not bring jail or prison sentences…think again.

As we have discussed in the past, the authorities have been working very hard to dispel that belief. Take Robert Scatamacchia (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) for example.

The Defendant is not the type of man you would expect to see either at the defense table in court or wearing the appropriate garb in a Massachusetts prison.

But now, he has done both.

According to the Boston Herald , the Defendant is a former Haverhill, Massachusetts city  councillor. He was also a business partner in a funeral home business.   On Tuesday, the Defendant pleaded guilty in Lawrence Superior Court to stealing more than $270,000 from his business partner and customers of the funeral home.

The 66-year-old Defendant was sentenced to one year in prison as well as five years on-and-after probation. He acknowledged stealing from more than 20 customers and from business partner Paul Rogers, who merged funeral homes with him in 2010. He has also been ordered to repay $144,000 in restitution. Apparently, he has already repaid $40,000.

His attorney says he’s “deeply ashamed.”

Prosecutors say the Defendant took about $200,000 from his business partner and about $73,000 from clients who placed funds in pre-funeral arrangement accounts.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Obvious And Not-So-Obvious Effects Of Convictions For Theft-Related Crimes

You already know that the Defendant has been incarcerated for one year and will thereafter be on probation for five more years.

“But, Sam, doesn’t this prove the point? I mean, only ONE YEAR and then probation? I mean, for even ONE HALF that amount, I would take the one year and probation.”

Would you? Well, let me give you a few consideration that you may not have thought of…

  1. The Defendant does not actually get to keep the money. A part of the sentence is that he has to pay it back. In fact, should he not pay it back, he will likely be found in violation of probation. As any regular reader of this blog can tell you, that can easily mean going back to prison for up to the maximum possible sentence.

  1. The Defendant has been convicted of a felony. He is, therefore, a felon. There are certain rights he has now given up, such as the right to vote, try to own a firearm, etc.

  1. The Defendant’s career (actually, both of them) is over. He is a felon. Further, he is convicted of abusing a position of authority to steal money from his partner and customers. Except in very extreme circumstances, he is not going to be elected to anything. Finding any kind of job with authority is likewise going to be difficult if not impossible.

    Good luck in paying off that restitution!

  1. At least for while he is on probation, the Defendant is likely going to be forbidden to even try to gain employment that would put him in a position of trust.

  1. It is not clear if he is a lawyer, which a city counselor often is. If so, he is likely to have lost his license to practice law by the time he gets out of custody.

  1. One year behind bars may not seem like too much to you, but keep in mind that, since he was sentenced to state prison, that is basically real time. In other words, he will likely serve the entire year. Think about what that is like…for even one month.

  1. I have handled a good number of these types of cases. These days, the prosecutor almost always looks for imprisonment and the court goes along with it. The number of years varies from case to case, of course, but the number can easily be more than one or two years.

To my way of thinking, it is probably not worth it.  What would be worth something, though, is to get an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side if you are ever in the Defendant’s shoes.

You are in trouble.  Get some help for, at the very least, damage control.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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