Crime

Racketeering trial for former State Police union head Dana Pullman and former lobbyist Anne Lynch to begin this week

“[Pullman] wielded the union like a criminal enterprise, running it like an old-school mob boss.”

Former Massachusetts State Police union president Dana Pullman left the Moakley Federal Courthouse after a hearing in 2019. He is set to go to trial on Monday. John Tlumacki / Boston Globe

Dana Pullman, former president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM), was arrested over three years ago for allegedly taking tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a union lobbyist and diverting money from the union for personal expenses. This week, Pullman and the lobbyist, Anne Lynch, are set to finally face trial. 

Pullman began as a State Police trooper in 1987, and served as head of SPAM from 2012 until he resigned in 2018. Lynch is the founder and former owner of the lobbying firm, Lynch Associates Inc.

Jury selection in the racketeering and fraud case is on track to conclude Monday, The Boston Globe reported, and opening statements will soon follow. 

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SPAM consists of more than 1,500 troopers and sergeants from the Massachusetts State Police. The union acted as the exclusive bargaining agent between its members and the state regarding terms and conditions of its members’ employment, according to the Department of Justice. Lynch’s firm represented SPAM during the time that Pullman served as its president in exchange for monthly retainer payments. 

Prosecutors allege that, between 2012 and 2018, Pullman and Lynch conspired with people employed by or associated with the union to organize a pattern of racketeering for personal gain. They are also facing charges that they conspired to commit honest services wire fraud, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and filing false tax returns. 

“[Pullman] wielded the union like a criminal enterprise, running it like an old-school mob boss,” Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston field office Joseph Bonavolonta said in 2019. “We believe both Pullman and Lynch lied, cheated, and tried to obstruct our investigation at the expense of those hardworking troopers and taxpayers… Their actions were, without a doubt, disgraceful, underhanded, and fueled by sheer greed.”

With the money Pullman allegedly stole from the union, he paid for decadent meals, trips, gifts, and a new SUV. Pullman allegedly worked to pressure companies looking to do business with the state into becoming clients of Lynch’s firm, resulting in the kickback payments he received from her. These payments were sometimes disguised as “consulting fees” to Pullman’s wife. 

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Pullman also allegedly encouraged members of SPAM’s executive board to submit false expense reports to cover the money that had been diverted for his personal spending. 

During the trial, prosecutors will be tasked with proving that Pullman turned a legitimate organization, SPAM, into a racketeering operation. Although the federal racketeering law known as the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was created to deal with the Mafia and organized crime groups, it has also been used to prosecute those accused of racketeering inside legitimate organizations. 

“I think the government will have to establish that this wasn’t the occasional small bribe or kickback, but it really was central to the core of how the defendant ran the State Police association,” attorney Zachary Hafer, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at Cooley, told the Globe

Cases like this, where the racketeering enterprise is not a traditional organized crime institution, can be more difficult for the government, he added. 

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