Former Massachusetts probation official found guilty in corruption case

BOSTON Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:23pm EDT

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BOSTON (Reuters) - A former director of Massachusetts' probation commission was found guilty on Thursday of running the agency as a corrupt political patronage operation, offering jobs in return for favors from state legislators.

A U.S. District Court jury found that former commissioner John O'Brien and an aide were guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud, while a third colleague was found guilty of conspiracy but cleared of charges of mail fraud and racketeering.

The jury deliberated for seven days at the conclusion of a trial that ran for more than two months and featured accusations that O'Brien and his colleagues had exchanged favors with sitting state legislators including state House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who has angrily denied any wrongdoing and faced no criminal charges.

The jury found that O'Brien went beyond political patronage in his hiring practices, aggressively using his ability to bestow jobs to increase his political clout and seek favors.

O'Brien's wife collapsed when the verdict was read and was taken from the courthouse in an ambulance, local media reported.

O'Brien ran the state's probation department, which supervises former prison inmates on release, from 1998 through 2010.

Former aide Elizabeth Tavares was also found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud while a third former official, William Burke was found guilty of conspiracy but not guilty of the other charges.

U.S. District Judge William Young set a Nov. 18 sentencing date. O'Brien faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years for each of the 10 criminal counts on which he was found guilty.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Billcarson wrote:
Guilty Probation Verdict Sets Up 2nd Bribery Trial In September

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Guilty Probation Verdict Sets Up Bribery Trial
A historic federal trial of truly epic proportions will soon be set for bribery charges as early as September 2014.

Nepotism, cronyism and patronage are a routine form of governance in Massachusetts.

Federal prosecutors will follow through with a second bribery trial after the guilty finding in federal court yesterday.

The Massachusetts Probation Department corruption case is a two part trial.

The trial was split into two parts in order to streamline the case for the jury.

United States District Court Judge William G. Young previously told prosecutors that they can bring a second corruption case involving bribery to trial.

Judge William Young has divided the case into two parts. The second case is bribery.

The first trial started in May and ended yesterday with the conviction of all three defendants.

The second trial is expected to start in the fall. This second trial will involve bribery charges added to the first probation department trial after the first indictment.

Federal prosecutors do not need written agreements to prove the crime of bribery. Federal prosecutors must only show intent.

Bribery charges may involve public officials and / or private individuals.

The public cares about honesty and integrity.

“Bribery is the practice of offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting something of value for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in discharge of his/ her public or legal duties.”

Jul 25, 2014 9:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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