Aug 8 2013

Lee police chief indicted for extortion and money laundering

Dr. Q

The Lee police chief was indicted on charges of extortion and money laundering after he allegedly demanded money from people in exchange for not pressing prostitution charges against them.

The Berkshire Eagle reports:

A federal grand jury has indicted Lee’s police chief on extortion and money laundering for allegedly forcing the owners of a local inn to donate money so as not to face criminal prostitution charges.

In February 2012, Chief Joseph Buffis, 55, coerced the couple to donate $4,000 to the Edward J. Laliberte Toy Fund, a holiday toy fund controlled by Buffis, according to information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In exchange for the donation, Buffis allegedly agreed to not bring charges against them.

The couple, Tara Viola and Thomas Fusco, own The Inn at Laurel Lake, The Eagle has learned. The couple was not named in court documents.

Buffis then made the couple sign an agreement that prevented the disclosure of the deal.

Buffis then allegedly transferred the money to his personal account and spent it at various places, including a liquor store, the indictment alleges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Buffis also lied to investigators about what became of the money.

Buffis will not be arrested and will be summonsed in to court for the charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

May 17 2013

State trooper convicted of extortion

Dr. Q

A suspended Massachusetts state trooper was convicted of extortion in federal court. At his trial, a former bookie testified that the trooper, John M. Analetto, brutally mistreated him after lending him money (Source: The Boston Herald).

More information about the bookie’s testimony here and here:

“He said he would have no problem killing me if he had to. The guy’s a (expletive) animal,” said Robert Russo of Arlington, who claims he quit the gambling life on Jan. 2, 2012, two days after federal agents put Analetto behind bars.

Russo, 34, recalled over nearly five hours on the witness stand how he was suicidal, weighed 350 pounds and was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt in the summer of 2011 when Analetto, 49, of Belmont — and “the first and only” cop he’d ever had as a customer — stepped out from behind his betting alter ego “Big Red” and said, “ ‘What if I offer to help you?’ “ Russo said. “That’s kind of how the ball got rolling.”

Analetto, he said, fronted him $24,000 in cash to be partners. The officer demanded payments of $500 a week, plus a 20-percent cut of Russo’s commission, and insisted on using bizarre code words like “fish” to mean money. Within weeks, Russo testified their relationship took a “brutal” turn.

“There was no rest with him. Every conversation was him yelling at me and belittling me,” he said. “He wanted things his way. He was basically controlling me. I was his puppet.”

Update (10/12/13): Analetto has been sentenced to 41 months in prison. The Boston Globe reports:

Analetto, a veteran of more than 19 years, was sentenced in federal court in Boston on Thursday to 41 months in a federal prison for extorting a payment from a gambler in a threatening phone call in 2011 that was captured on video and played for jurors in his trial in May.

“I’d appreciate it if you started calling the right people and doing the right thing, or 2012 ain’t going to be too good for you,” he said in the call, ending with “capice?”

The jury that found Analetto guilty on the extortion charge did not convict him of a second charge of threatening a bookie who owed him money, and the charge was dismissed.

But US District Court Judge George A. Toole Jr. said he was considering all of the allegations against the former trooper, as well as a history of internal affairs complaints against him for threatening behavior, in handing out the sentence.

“The offense is a serious offense, by whomever committed it,” O’Toole said, saying he was handing out the sentence so that, “the public should respect the law in seeing it vindicated, by punishing the offender.”

He also ordered Analetto to pay a $7,500 fine and to serve two years of probation after his release from prison, under conditions that he undergo drug and alcohol treatment, and gambling treatment and that he stay away from victims in the case. Analetto has been in prison since his arrest on New Year’s Eve in 2011.

Analetto had faced 33 to 41 months under sentencing guidelines. His lawyer, Daniel W. O’Malley, asked O’Toole to set a sentence within the guidelines, saying his client was remorseful for his crimes.

Jan 9 2012

News Roundup for the New Year

Dr. Q

As I said toward the end of last year, I will now be posting weekly news roundups. Instead of trying to write detailed articles about every police misconduct and police accountability-related story I come across, I will post links on the Massachusetts Cop Block Facebook and Twitter pages and make a weekly post that includes brief summaries of all the stories I found during the past week. Currently, I plan to post a news roundup every Monday.

First, here are a few stories from late last year:

  • The Lowell Sun reports that Vesna Nuon, who was just elected to the Lowell City Council, accepted a $50,000 settlement from the city. Nuon was suing the city over a 2008 incident in which Lowell Police Officer Brian Kinney allegedly arrested him on a bogus “disorderly conduct” charge after he threatened to call Kinney’s supervisor and complain about his unprofessional behavior. As part of the settlement, Kinney must also apologize to Nuon.
  • WGGB-TV reports that Spingfield Police Officer Rafael Nazario has been charged with rape and indecent assault and battery after allegedly raping an 18-year-old woman.
  • The Sun Chronicle reports that cocaine and other drugs have gone missing from the Attleboro Police Department’s evidence room. Police Chief Kyle Heagney said he suspects that a cop is responsible and has launched an investigation. The Boston Herald reports that Heagney wishes he could drug test the officers in his department, but their union contract bars him from doing so.

And here the the first Massachusetts police misconduct and police accountability-related stories of the new year:

  • The Boston Herald reports that state trooper John Bergeron shot a woman while hunting. The state police have described the incident as an accident, but Environmental Police are still investigating.
  • WBZ-TV reports that Charlton police terrified a 5-year-old girl when they sent an officer to collect her overdue library books. Seems like a colossal overreaction, not to mention a waste of police resources. As one person who shared the story with me sarcastically commented, “All other crimes have been solved!”
  • The Boston Herald reports that the FBI has arrested state police officer John M. Analetto on extortion charges. Analetto has been accused of lending an FBI informant money in exchange for a piece of his business and threatening to murder the informant multiple times.
  • reports that black box data disclosed by the state police shows Lt. Governor Tim Murray was driving 100 MPH and not wearing his seatbelt when he totaled his taxpayer-funded car during the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Both Murray and the state police previously said accident was caused by black ice, but the release of the black box data have forced them to revise their story. They both now claim that Murray probably fell asleep at the wheel. Previously, the state police refused to release the black box data to the public even though they are required to by the Massachusetts Public Records Law, however, they finally released the data when Murray asked them to. Murray will be issued a $555 traffic citation.
  • The Cape Cod Times reports that a judge ruled that Sandwich police violated a teen football player’s rights when they interrogated him without offering to record the interrogation.
  • The Enterprise reports that former Brockton police lieutenant Charles Lincoln has been jailed for failing to make alimony payments to his ex-wife. Lincoln, now retired, became infamous when he called out sick more than 100 times in three years so he could work a second job as the head of a county jail and amass a huge pension. Lincoln has collected his $140,000 a year pension at taxpayer expense since 2004.
  • Lastly, a man uploaded a YouTube video a few days ago which apparently depicts Haverhill police searching his home. The man frantically tells the camera that the police have entered his home without cause and assaulted him. At the end of the video, the police notice they are on camera and threaten to arrest the man for recording him. While I can’t confirm the man’s version of events, I will say that police have no right to arrest people for openly recording them. This man may want to consult a lawyer.

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