Congressman Tierney’s wife to testify in federal Internet gambling trial

Patrice Tierney will testify in the trial of her brother in federal court.
Patrice Tierney will testify in the trial of her brother in federal court. –Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff

The wife of US Representative John T. Tierney is slated to testify at her brother’s federal trial on charges that he was involved in an online gambling ring, a prosecutor said in court today.

Patrice Tierney is to testify in the racketeering trial of Daniel Eremian, which began today with opening statements in US District Court. Prosecutors say her brothers and her son were involved in illegal gambling. The congressman has not been implicated in the case.

It would be the second time Patricia Tierney has been called into federal court for a brother’s alleged connection to the gambling ring. Last year, she pleaded guilty to helping another brother, Robert Eremian, file false tax returns and was sentenced to serve a month in prison and five months of house arrest. Robert Eremian remains a fugitive on racketeering charges.

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John Tierney has said in a statement that although his wife accepted responsibility, she was merely trying to care for her family, and her trust in her brother Robert had been “sorely misplaced.’’

It was not clear today when Tierney will be called to testify, but Assistant US District Attorney Fred M. Wyshak Jr. said in his opening statements that she will discuss a local bank account that received millions of dollars in gambling profits.

Daniel Eremian and a codefendant, Todd Lyons, face charges of racketeering, money laundering and operating an illegal gambling business.

Wyshak said they ran an illegal gambling company based in Antigua called Sports Off Shore from 1997 through 2010.

He said the company grossed more than $22 million in 13 years in operation, and employed dozens of people. At least $10 million was funneled into an account in Massachusetts that Patrice Tierney used to manage her family’s affairs, Wyshak said.

Wyshak said that Eremian and Lyons, who collected money for the operation in Massachusetts, were key players in the illegal enteprise.

“You will see that this is an organization that day in, day out, for almost 15 years engaged in the same criminal activity, over and over again,’’ Wyshak said. “This is your [typical criminal] organization stretching from Massachusetts to Florida, Belize and Antigua, and it’s about making money.’’

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But lawyers for Lyons, 38, and for Eramian, 61, told jurors that they will see a clear difference between obvious, illegal street gambling, and the type of Internet gambling operation that they ran out of Antigua. They said there is no evidence that Eremian or Lyons took bets in person, and that they thought Internet gambling was legitimate.

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