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Case against Malden's Toomajian lingers in court

Posted by Marcia Dick  September 22, 2011 04:42 PM

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WOBURN -- After months of inactivity in the case against Charles Toomajian, a Middlesex County Superior Court judge today ordered that a trial date be set within six months for the aide to Malden's mayor and a practicing attorney charged in an embezzlement ploy worth at least $1.86 million, according to prosecutors.

xcharle.jpgIn an appearance that lasted no more than 10 minutes,  attorneys for Toomajian (left) and two codefendants were told by Superior Court judge Elizabeth Fahey to speed things along, despite complications of the intricate case, which is being prosecuted in five counties.

John T. Dawley, first assistant district attorney for Essex County and lead prosecutor in cases against the majority of the 31 defendents, said that because of the number and breadth of the indictments, a special judge has been named to hear all pretrial motions in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Although individual cases will be heard in the courts where they originated, the arrangement with the special judge has caused some delay and confusion.

"We're kind of in limbo here," said Dawley.

The last activity in the case was in June, when lawyers met informally. The case was delayed until today because of extensive scheduling conflicts with Toomajian's attorney, Thomas Drechsler, who represented Richard McDonough, a codefendant in the curruption case of convicted former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.

"I want a trial date within six months," said Fahey, before dismissing Toomajian and the others.

Toomajian was first implicated in October 2010 and was among 31 indicted in connection with a crime ring that allegedly engaged in violent home invasion, drug trafficking, embezzlement, money laundering, and other crimes, authorities have said.

A statewide grand jury sitting in Boston indicted Toomajian on enhanced charges in March for conspiracy, larceny, receiving stolen property, and being an accessory after the fact to larceny, which is a felony, according to a statement issued by the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Since then, prosecutors have widened their probe of the alleged financial schemes, which were initially only a slice of a sprawling criminal investigation that centered largely on violent crime and drug offenses.

Prosecutors alleged that one of Toomajian's codefendents, Charles Davis, 44, of Salem, N.H., siphoned more than $1.86 million from Randstad Professionals, a global staffing agency with an office in Wakefield where Davis worked as an account manager. From February 2007 to October 2008, prosecutors say Davis cut fraudulent checks that were filtered to associates and then to Toomajian, or in some cases, to Toomajian directly.

In all, Toomajian is accused of helping to launder $659,525 from Davis, in part with the help of a third man, Paul Breen, 38, of Beverly, who allegedly used the accounts of a Medford realtor where he worked to deposit and gain access the stolen money.

Prosecutors have said the charges against Toomajian stem from his work as a private attorney and are unrelated to his job with the City of Malden, which he continues to occupy.

Breen is charged with receiving stolen property, being an accessory after the fact to a felony (larceny), and conspiracy to commit larceny.

All of it, prosecutors allege, was orchestrated to pay Breen's and Davis's large outstanding gambling debts with two bookmakers, Joseph Giallanella, 62, of North Andover, and Michael Petrillo, 56, of Peabody. Giallanella and Petrillo also were arrested in the October 2010 sweep, and face separate charges.

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