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’ve been convicted of a criminal offense in the past, you have a criminal record. It goes without saying that having a criminal record isn’t ideal; it can negatively impact your ability to get a job, housing, and even student loans for years into the future. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to seal your record in MA. Read on for more information about how to seal a criminal record, what that means, and if you qualify.

In 2012, the Criminal Offender Record (CORI) reform went into effect in MA. This is especially good news for people who were charged with a crime, but for whom the charges were dismissed. If this is you, CORI greatly improves your chances of getting your record sealed. Whether your charges were dismissed from the start, or after probation, you may qualify.

If you were convicted of the charge, you’re not out of luck yet. However, convictions typically require the passage of a certain amount of time before you are eligible to petition the court to seal your record. If the conviction was for a felony, CORI requires a full 15 years to pass before your record is eligible to be sealed. But there are some exceptions to that rule. In MA, the judge has the authority to seal a felony record before the 15 years are up. The judge will take into account any hardships you may be experiencing as a result of the open record. This is where having a skilled Boston defense attorney is essential.

What Types of Criminal Records Can be Sealed in MA?

Many factors come into play when a judge is determining whether or not your record can be sealed. These include the particulars of your offense, and past criminal history, among other factors. However, some of the criminal charges that may be eligible include:

  • Assault
  • Possession of drugs
  • Property crimes, such as burglary and arson
  • Weapons charges
  • Fraud

A MA defense attorney can review your criminal record to ensure that the information within is accurate before petitioning the court to seal the record. Sealing a criminal record is a complex process that requires the help of legal counsel with extensive experience in this particular area of the law.

What Does Sealing a Record Actually Do?

Sealing does not mean erasing. The record still exists, but it isn’t accessible by most people, employers, or entities. Even better, when you apply for a job, housing, or a loan, you can legally answer that you have never been convicted of a crime. You can also state that you’ve never been charged or arrested for a crime. Once your record is sealed, the MA sealing statute allows you to legally answer in this way. Unfortunately, there are a few employers that are still permitted to access sealed records. These are:

  • The Department of Early Education and Care
  • The Department of Children and Families
  • The Department of Youth Services
  • Police and probation agencies
  • Courts
  • Prosecutors’ offices

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In September 2013, officials linked to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie used their power to abruptly close lanes on one of the world’s busiest bridges, the George Washington, for four days. Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff and Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director for the Port Authority, were sentenced last week for their crimes. During Baroni’s sentencing, Judge Susan Wigenton said the crimes were “an outrageous abuse of power,” and that the incident “culminates another unfortunate chapter in the history of New Jersey.”

The 2013 act of political revenge resulted in a sentence of 24 months in prison for Baroni, and 18 months in prison for Kelly. In addition, both were ordered to complete 500 hours of community service, and pay fines. The conviction came in November, when Baroni and Kelly were found guilty on seven counts, including civil rights deprivation, fraud, and conspiracy. A MA defense lawyer can help if you’ve been charged with criminal conspiracy.

The George Washington Bridge, connects Fort Lee, New Jersey with Manhattan. According to court documents, the four-day closure became a serious public safety risk, endangering citizens and causing severe traffic delays. So, why did officials order the abrupt closure of lanes on one of the world’s busiest bridges? The prosecution alleged that the effort was intended to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie’s 2013 bid for re-election.

It’s All in the Emails

Charges were filed following an investigation that uncovered incriminating emails and text messages. In one email between Kelly and former Port Authority official David Wildstein, Kelly wrote, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Kelly claims that the email was sarcastic and humorous and that it referred to results from a recent traffic study. It is estimated that the duo’s actions cost Port Authority over $14,000. In Baroni’s testimony, he claimed that he thought the lane closures were part of a legal traffic study, and that Wildstein had relayed this information to him. Wildstein, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the vengeful incident, pleaded guilty to one civil rights violation and one charge of conspiracy to commit fraud.

Only a Prison Sentence Can Restore the Community’s Faith in Public Institutions

The sentences may seem harsh, but prosecutors believed that a prison sentence was the only way to deal with this level of public corruption. The court documents stated that, ”As both Baroni and Kelly surely understood given their lengthy tenures in New Jersey government, crimes committed by public officials are particularly insidious because they destroy the community’s faith in its own public institutions.”

What is Criminal Conspiracy?

In MA, criminal conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an unlawful act. Three elements must be present to prove a conspiracy existed in MA. These are:

  • The defendant entered into an agreement with at least one other person.
  • The agreement had a criminal or unlawful purpose.
  • The defendant was aware that the purpose was criminal or unlawful and intended to carry out the act.

Penalties for Criminal Conspiracy

Depending on the offense the defendant was conspiring to commit, and any prior criminal history, the penalties for conspiracy can vary widely. If the underlying offense was a misdemeanor, the penalty is up to two-and-a-half years in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. If, however, the defendant conspired to commit a felony, he or she may be facing up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A Boston defense lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’re facing criminal conspiracy charges. Continue reading

We’ve all heard the term embezzlement in the news and in crime movies, but most people don’t know what it actually means. If you’ve been accused of embezzlement, you may be unsure of what your charges entail. Embezzlement is a form of theft, but it’s much more specific than shoplifting or taking a purse from the seat of a car. Embezzlement involves theft of assets by an individual who is responsible for managing those assets.

Embezzlement is most common within businesses and corporations, and when individuals are put in charge of managing loved one’s estates. This crime can be as simple as taking a few dollars here and there while working as a cashier or bank teller, or as complex as creating fake employee profiles and writing monthly checks to employees who don’t actually exist. In many cases, the individual keeps the money for himself or herself, but the transference of funds outside of the company to another individual can also constitute embezzlement. Consulting with a skilled Boston criminal defense lawyer is crucial to a positive outcome if you’re facing embezzlement charges.

Four Factors of Embezzlement

Defined as the theft or larceny of assets by a person with responsibility for those assets, embezzlement likely occurred if the following four factors were present:

  • A fiduciary relationship between two parties; one party must rely on the other.
  • The property in question must have been acquired through the relationship.
  • The defendant must have transferred the property to another person or entity, or he or she must have taken ownership of the property.
  • The action of taking the property was intentional.

Accounting embezzlement, which involves manipulating accounting records to conceal the stealing of funds, is one of the most common forms of the crime. When a person is given lawful possession of someone else’s property, for the purpose of managing it, but converts it to personal use, this is embezzlement. In some cases, people take large sums of money at once, while other people embezzle small amounts over an extended period of time. It is also possible to embezzle property, such as laptops or company vehicles. A MA defense attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you are facing this type of charge.

Penalties for Embezzlement in Massachusetts

The penalty for embezzlement in MA is largely dependent on the value and type of property stolen, as well as on the defendant’s prior criminal history.

  • Value of stolen property is worth $250 or less: If it’s a first offense, you could face fines of up to $600, and up to two-and-a-half years in prison.
  • Value of stolen property is worth $250 or more (or if the stolen property included firearms): You may face a fine of up to $25,000, and up to five years in prison.
  • Trade secrets: You could be looking at a fine of up to $25,000, and up to five years in prison.

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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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