Another Democrat Politician Busted In Million-Dollar Scandal – using his office to gain about $1 million, 700 pounds of coffee
A former Massachusetts state senator was arrested on charges of extortion and fraud after allegedly using his office to gain about $1 million, 700 pounds of free coffee and a Jeep.
Former state Sen. Brian A. Joyce, 55, federal authorities say, received up to 700 pounds of free coffee, and roughly $125,000 in alleged kickbacks, from a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee owner, who later claimed it was in exchange for legal services.
‘No decaf,’ Joyce told the franchisee owner in a December 2014 email for one request, according to the indictment. ‘We like k cups (sic) at my office if possible.’
He also allegedly created a shell company used to collect kickbacks from an energy broker in exchange for pressuring officials to hire the broker for contracts.
The massive 113 count indictment also alleges Joyce came up with a bogus IRA account with fake legal fees- which led to additional charges including racketeering, 20 counts of extortion and seven counts of money laundering.
Prosecutors say Joyce also pressured a local planning board to approve a waiver sought by a developer, who gave Joyce a Jeep from one of the developer’s car dealerships.
Joyce ran his Senate office as a criminal enterprise,’ acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said at a press conference.
He added that Joyce’s alleged schemes started in 2010. He left the legislature in January.
Hank Shaw, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, called Joyce ‘greedy, plain and simple.’
Joyce was arrested at his Westport home shortly before sunrise Friday, hours before authorities unsealed the indictment stemming from a two-year investigation that charges the Democrat with racketeering, extortion, wire fraud and money laundering.
‘He had a duty to serve (his constituents) honestly, and he violated that duty by accepting bribes and kickbacks in exchange for his official action,’ Weinreb said.
Joyce pleaded not guilty in Worcester’s federal courthouse Friday before being released on $250,000 bond.
His attorney, Howard Cooper, said after Joyce’s court appearance that ‘he’s innocent of all of these charges.’
‘In the last few years it’s been apparent across the country that the federal government has brought a number of cases against public officials which have either gone nowhere or have been rejected by juries or highly criticized by courts,’ Cooper told reporters.
Joyce’s law office in Canton was raided by the FBI in February 2016 in what was then described as ‘court-authorized activity in connection with an ongoing federal investigation.’ Cooper said at the time that Joyce was cooperating and believed he had done nothing wrong.
Joyce, who had served as assistant majority leader and represented his district since 1998, said shortly after the investigation was announced last year that he would not seek re-election to the Senate.
Joyce is accused of participating in number of complex schemes dating back to 2010 that netted him hundreds of thousands of dollars and concealing the payments by using his law office as a ‘money laundering conduit.’
Prosecutors say he also lied to the state’s ethics commission and used the panel as a ‘cloak of legitimacy for his corrupt schemes.’
In 2015, then-Senate President Stan Rosenberg asked the ethics commission to review Joyce’s conduct after The Boston Globe reported on potential conflicts of interest focusing on whether he used his position to boost his law practice.
In an unrelated case last year, Joyce agreed to pay nearly $5,000 to resolve issues raised by state campaign finance regulators, including using campaign funds for his son’s 2014 high school graduation party. Joyce said there had been no finding of wrongdoing on his part in that case.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker called the allegations against Joyce disturbing.
‘People in public life need to respect the offices they hold and that means not using them for personal gain, and if the feds believe there’s enough there to justify an indictment then the investigation needs to be thorough and move forward accordingly,’ Baker said.