Associate in lawyer’s alleged scheme ID’d
The mortgage company owner who prosecutors allege helped Boston criminal defense lawyer Robert A. George launder money for a purported drug dealer is Dover businessman Michael F. Hansen, according to two people briefed on the case.
Hansen, who dissolved his Dedham-based company East Coast Mortgage in August, began cooperating with the US Drug Enforcement Administration last June, after agents warned him that he had been caught in a sting targeting the high-profile lawyer, said those familiar with the case.
No charges have been brought against Hansen, who co-owns Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston’s South End.
Hansen did not return repeated calls from the Globe yesterday, and his wife turned a reporter away without comment from their sprawling, home on a cul-de-sac in Dover.
He is a well-known figure in the community and is president of Westwood Dover Pop Warner.
A spokeswoman for the US attorney’s office, which is prosecuting George, declined to comment yesterday on Hansen.
Kevin J. Reddington, a Brockton lawyer who represents George, declined to comment on George’s dealings with Hansen, but said: “Cooperators are always a cause of concern. . . . They are paid by the government many times. They are promised their freedom. . . . That has to be weighed heavily by juries.’’
Reddington described George as “a very ethical attorney who has conducted himself admirably in the course of his career.’’ He added, “We look forward to ultimately meeting the government head on in the course of the trial.’’
George, 56 — whose client list included mobsters, police officers, cult members, and accused killers — was arrested at his Westwood home Wednesday morning on a federal complaint charging him with money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, and structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements.
A DEA affidavit filed in support of the case says the investigation began after one of George’s former clients, who was secretly cooperating with the DEA, told agents that the lawyer offered to launder money for him when the two crossed paths at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree in March 2009.
The affidavit says that at the DEA’s request, the cooperating witness later asked George to help him launder drug profits, and the lawyer arranged for him to deliver the money to the mortgage company owner.
The former client is identified only as CS1 (cooperating source) in the affidavit, which says his lengthy criminal history included a fraud involving $700,000 for the sale of repossessed cars.
One of those familiar with the case confirmed yesterday that the witness is Ronald Dardinski, who had been charged a decade ago with a scam in which he pretended to sell luxury vehicles, then pocketed the cash provided by would-be buyers.
Efforts to reach Dardinski yesterday were unsuccessful.
Hansen, who is identified in the affidavit as CS2, allegedly received two $100,000 cash payments from Dardinski, once in December 2009 at his Dedham mortgage company and in April 2010 in the parking lot of a Dedham restaurant. After each delivery, Hansen allegedly provided an $80,000 check to Dardinski.
During the first delivery, according to the affidavit, the cooperating witness handed over the cash and said: “If we do this one, then we can do a bunch more. I have all that money from coke, too.’’
The mortgage company owner took the duffel bag with cash, the affidavit says, and said, “Just like the old days!’’
Later, George allegedly complained that the mortgage company owner was not returning his calls, according to the affidavit, and told his former client, “You don’t mind scarin’ him, do you?’’
In total, Hansen allegedly laundered $200,000 in purported drug profits, while he and George each received $20,000.
The affidavit says that when the cooperating witness confided that he was on probation and had to show his probation officer a paycheck to verify employment, the mortgage company owner told him he owned a construction company in Dover and could put him on the payroll to make it appear he was working.
Hansen is a developer who developed Dover Farms, an upscale condominium complex.
After agents confronted Hansen in June 2010, he agreed to cooperate, and his later meetings with George were secretly recorded by the DEA.