The wife of US Representative John F. Tierney pleaded guilty today in US District Court in Boston to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns for her brother, who is a federal fugitive indicted on illegal gambling charges.
"I take full responsibility for what my part in this was," Patrice Tierney told Judge William G. Young. She was released on personal recognizance, pending a Jan. 13 sentencing hearing.
Outside the courtroom, after the hearing, John Tierney told reporters, "Today's not about me. I'm here in support of my wife" and refused to take questions.
Prosecutors say Patrice Tierney managed a Massachusetts bank account for her brother, Robert Eremian, that received more than $7 million in illegal gambling profits and that she provided information to his tax preparer that mischaracterized his profits as commissions. Eremian and another brother, Daniel Eremian, were recently charged with racketeering, money laundering, operating an illegal gambling business, filing false tax returns, and other charges in connection with running an illegal gambling business in the United States from the Caribbean island of Antigua.
Prosecutors say Robert Eremian was the owner of an illegal gambling business in Lynnfield which he moved to St. John's, Antigua, around 1996. Eremian, the owner and principal of Sports Offshore, maintained a home and other financial and family interests in Massachusetts and managed those interests and family obligations through Massachusetts bank accounts funded by illegal gambling proceeds, prosecutors allege.
A federal grand jury indicted Robert Eremian and Daniel Eremian of Boca Raton, Fla., in August on charges of racketeering, illegal gambling, and money laundering.
Federal prosecutors allege that Tierney managed her brother's finances in Massachusetts, kept detailed records of his financial transactions, and provided that information to his tax preparer.
While the congressman declined to answer questions, he referred reporters to a statement he issued last night in which he said his wife had been betrayed by her brother.
The Eremians were the first in Massachusetts to be charged with violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which was enacted in 2006 to prevent the US banking system from paying Internet gambling debts incurred by US citizens. Robert Eremian remains a fugitive.
The plea comes as John Tierney, who has held office for seven terms, is running for reelection against Republican Bill Hudak. Hudak called today for Tierney to disclose what he knew about his wife's financial dealings.
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