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.

Articles Posted in White Collar Crimes

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.

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Last month, former Ashland school secretary, Marissa Goldstein, was accused of embezzling $55,000 from the Warren School.  Over her career at the Warren School, Goldstein is accused of stealing and depositing more than 80 checks written by kindergarten parents to the school for their children’s education.  Additionally, she is accused of taking checks and cash from a 2015 book fair.  Ashland Police reported that Principal Michael Caira reported the theft of $8,100 stolen from the school book fair which was held in mid April.  Caira stated the collected money from the fair was put into a locked cabinet with only five people aware of its presence in the cabinet.  Goldstein knew the location of the money because she was responsible for deposits.  It wasn’t until September that the company that hosted the book far, Scholastic books, contacted the school inquiring about payment.  Goldstein told Caira that she had, in fact, deposited the money and had also been in touch with Scholastic in an attempt to resolve the issue.

On September 28, Goldstein resigned after being told by Caira that he planned to fire her, based primarily on her work history.  After her resignation, Caira called Scholastic himself who told him that Goldstein had never contacted them.  Officers then began investigating the theft of the book fair money.  Shortly after, it was discovered that there was also an issue with parents not fulfilling their children’s kindergarten payments.  However, parents claimed that they had paid and sent in cancelled checks to prove it.  Police investigated where these checks had been cashed and looked at the security footage of the banks.  Videos showed a woman who looked like Goldstein depositing the stolen checks.  Upon investigation into Goldstein’s bank account, it was found that she had deposited 67 checks made out to Ashland Public Schools for her own bank account, totaling $54,892.  After this discovery, police immediately tried to track down Goldstein.  However, the address she gave the school when she began working was fake and her parents did not seem to be interested in helping police find her.  Eventually Goldstein’s lawyer contacted police and she was charged with larceny of kindergarten fees and the $8,000 in book sales.  Continue reading

Kevin Burnham, a “decorated and highly-respected” Springfield police officer who retired in 2014 (and hereinafter, the “Defendant”) has been indicted with stealing approximately $385,317 which had been evidence in 170 drug cases. He has pleaded “not guilty” and released on his own recognizance.

The Defendant must turn in his passport, not travel out of state without Probation Department permission, turn his guns over to counsel who must give them to any successor counsel, and give his license to carry firearms to the police commissioner.

The defense attorney at the bail hearing was appointed “for arraignment only” and so now the Defendant must find his own criminal defense attorney by January 19th.

The Indictments charging the Defendant with larceny counts name a timeline of more than a four year period .
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Last week, we began this topic. At the time, I signed off with the famous last words “Good question. Let’s start with it tomorrow“. Once again, a few “tomorrows” came and went and I was too busy fighting for “the cause” to post. So….please consider today “tomorrow”.

We discussed the realities about police involvement when approached by what appears to them to be a crime victim. However, what about when it is not a case of who gets to the police first? What about cases where you have no reason to know that there is even suspicion about your activity, much less an investigation? Often, we see such a scenario in Massachusetts white collar cases.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Healthy Paranoia When It Comes To Questionable Paperwork

Now, we all know that, generally, it is not nice to lie. Further, we have discussed in the past that lying to police in a criminal investigation is actually a felony.

There are other times, of course, where the lying itself is actually considered a Massachusetts white collar crime, namely, criminal fraud.

Christopher Keefe, a 28-year-gent from Braintree (hereinafter, the “Defendant”), has gotten himself in trouble because of an apparent shaky relationship with the truth.

As we have discussed many times over the past years, we are seeing more and more prosecutions for things that we barely even heard about, much less saw Massachusetts criminal prosecutions for… although we kind of knew they existed.

Today, the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog brings you another one.

A Suffolk County grand jury has now returned a 53 criminal charges for bribery against five Massachusetts Port Authority employees. They include Kenneth Clement, 67, of Attleboro; Michael Garvey, 51, of Melrose; Vadim Mkrtychev, 38, of West Roxbury; James Mulrey, 45, of Canton; and Donald Potis, 47, of Medford (hereinafter, collectively, the “Defendants”).

You have probably heard the old saying, “Hey, it’s only business”. The adage used to be used when one person got the better of a “friend” in business. No matter how ugly any deception would be, the rationalization was, “It isn’t personal…it’s just business“.

Usually the person on the winning end had an easier time accepting the notion than the losing party.

Today’s story reflects on a new version that you might be hearing soon. It would go, “Hey, it’s not personal…it’s just liberty.”

It would be particularly useful when trusted comrades turn on each other when facing the long end of the prosecutorial gun armed with years of potential incarceration.

Today’s case in point involves former Probation Commissioner John “Jack” O’Brien and two of his “most trusted lieutenants”. They have apparently struck a deal with the prosecution in which they have been granted immunity from prosecution in return for their testimony at trial. Against said former pal..

Trials in both Massachusetts state and federal court.

You see, O’Brien, who retired as commissioner in 2010, pleaded not guilty last September to bribery and conspiracy charges in connection with the 2005 fundraiser for Cahill he’s accused of stocking with probation employees in exchange for his wife’s Lottery job. The event is said to have brought in more than $11,000 for Cahill. In March, it was announced that O’Brien had been indicted on RICO conspiracy and mail fraud charges by a federal grand jury for currying favor with legislators in exchange for keeping their department’s budget flush with state money.

In these types of cases, former friends can make important witnesses. In this case, said friends are Edward P. Ryan, O’Brien’s liaison to legislators, and Francis M. Wall his deputy commissioner.
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Massachusetts extortion is an interesting white collar crime. I find that it is largely misunderstood as well.

Take the tale of Howie Winter, 83 years of age and hereinafter referred to as “Defendant1”. Defendant1 is also reputed with being the former head of the notorious Winter Hill Gang. He was just released on $25,000 bail in Somerville District Court. He is charged with trying to extort money from two people. He is accompanied by James Melvin, 70, of Braintree (hereinafter, “Defendant2”). The two are also charged with attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion.

Both gentlemen have also been ordered to where GPS monitoring bracelets.

Prosecutors say the defendants tried to extort $35,000 apiece from two men, repeatedly threatening them during a series of meetings, phone calls, and voicemails. Part of this threatening was allegedly making repeated references to the North End, invoking the shadowy powers of organized crime.

Apparently, said threatening behavior was not overly successful. It merely drove the alleged victims to the hands of law enforcement.

The defendants’ attorneys describe a bit of a different scenario. They suggest that their clients were acting to aid a lawyer who was himself being extorted by the two men that the government is now portraying as the victims.

One of the attorneys asks the question of whether it is extortion to extort money from extortionists. That seems reminiscent of our present policy of bullying kids who are bullies…and we have statutory sanction for that!

But I digress.

Apparently, the government has collected recordings of the defendants in this case. The government expects those tapes to help the prosecution. The defense attorneys, however, claim that said recordings “may very well prove that there was no criminal intent.”
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This is a fact scenario you don’t see every day. It also brings forth another Massachusetts criminal defendant who likely thought he would never see himself being prosecuted for felony crimes.

Michael Clair, 53 years of age and hereinafter the “Defendant” was once a practicing dentist in Fall River. Now, he lives in Maryland. Soon, however, he may be back in the Commonwealth residing in involuntary government housing.

You see, the Defendant has pleaded guilty to an apparent scheme in which he was involved while practicing in Fall River.

Folks would go to the Defendant to get, among other things, root canals done. And the Defendant would give them root canals. However, it would appear that he used some unknown cost-cutting measures. For example, he would substitute paper clips instead of stainless steel posts, according to Boston’s Attorney General.

Perhaps that would not have been so bad if he had shared the savings. However, not only did he not tell his patients, but he also failed to mention it to Medicaid. In fact, he is said to have billed Medicaid for the cost of the stainless steel posts he was supposed to have used.

Presto! Change-o! The dentist became the Defendant.

Facing Medicaid Fraud, Grand Larceny and Assault and Battery charges, the Defendant has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing. Incidentally, he has also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, intimidation of a witness, and illegally prescribing hydrocodone, Combunox, and Percocet.

All around bad news for the Defendant.

But, wait! There’s more!

This situation apparently began coming to light when the Defendant was investigated, in 2002, from the Medicaid (MassHealth) program. The Defendant was suspended from the program. Determined not to be a “quitter”, after his practice , Harbour Dental, hired other dentists who had not been ejected from the program, he apparently picked up where he left off. He began filing claims again, using their information for services he provided. According to AG Coakley’s office, this totaled about $130,000 over the course of two years.

In March 2010, a Bristol County grand jury indicted the Defendant and he was arraigned in April. He was released and ordered not to have any contact with the complainants in the case.

By November, he was facing the new charges of tampering with evidence and intimidating a witness.
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South Bosotn’s Whitey Buldger’s new attorney, J.W. Carney, Jr., has been heard explaining to the media that the government has had 20 years to prepare his client’s case for trial and that he has had the matter for (at the time) 5 days. From Boston’s Federal District Court to school disciplinary hearings, we have discussed the existence of an unequal playing field facing you when the finger of accusation comes to call.

Let’s end the week with one more example, shall we?

The Boston Globe reports that it has obtained a police an Internal Affairs Division report about a police officer involved in what has been called one of the most notorious police brutality cases in the city’s history. The matter stems from a 2009 arrest in the North End. The officer, David C. Williams (hereinafter, the “Officer”) has been placed on paid administrative leave for lying during the department’s investigation into the incident.

In 1999, the Officer was fired from the force after being implicated in the racially charged 1995 beating of an undercover police officer. He was then reinstated with nearly $550,000 in back pay after a civil service arbitration in 2005.

In the instant matter, the Officer faces the possibility of losing his job under Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis’s nearly 19-month-old policy of dismissing officers who lie in the line of duty, to internal affairs investigators, or in court (aka what would be called “perjury” if a non-officer did it.

The Officer’s attorney insists his client told the truth about the 2009 North End arrest. “He’s absolutely testified honestly and truthfully about the incident that occurred,” his lawyer explains . “Any conflicts about the incident were the result of a fast and rapidly evolving incident.”

Do you find it odd that such claims are supposed to be believed when made on behalf of a police officer by his officer, yet not for the rest of you?

Anything wrong with that?

At any rate, the Officer is appealing the finding. A hearing is scheduled for later this month.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The On-Again/Off-Again Relationship Between Law Enforcement And The Truth

The relationship between police officers, or federal agents, and objective factual truth tends to be a bit tumultuous. Whether it is a good day or a bad day in said relationship, be assured that it is a different relationship than the law provides for you.

This case demonstrates this fact brilliantly.

For example, you would be prosecuted for perjury.
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