Saturday, August 18, 2018

Slow Saturday Special: Farmer John

"Former state representative gets 5 months added to embezzlement sentence for hiding $2.5m" by Travis Andersen Globe Staff  August 17, 2018

A former state representative and Dartmouth selectman who is serving a 70-month federal prison term for embezzlement was sentenced Friday to five additional months for concealing more than $2.5 million in cash from authorities, federal prosecutors said.

John George Jr., 71, received his five-month sentence Friday during a hearing in US District Court in Boston, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office said in a statement.

The former lawmaker is incarcerated at the federal prison at Fort Devens in Ayer, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. His five-month sentence will be served after he completes the 70-month term, according to a plea agreement.

George was convicted in 2015 of embezzling money from a taxpayer-subsidized bus company he controlled and “was ordered to pay restitution of $688,772 and forfeiture of $1.38 million for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Lelling’s office said in a statement. 

Just sowing the seeds of..... I don't know.

Prosecutors said George had to disclose his finances to the court as part of the 2015 sentencing. He said at the time that he had only about $28,000 in cash, according to the release.

“However, in December 2015 and January 2016, federal law enforcement recovered more than $2.5 million in cash, as well as Rolex watches and jewelry that George had concealed in safe deposit boxes,” the statement said.

That discovery led prosecutors to hit George with an obstruction of justice charge, which he pleaded guilty to in March, records show. He could have gotten up to 10 years in prison for lying about his hidden stash of funds and jewelry, the plea agreement said.

George owned Union Street Bus Company, a New Bedford-based company that operated public buses. At the same time, George operated a large produce farm in Dartmouth, John George Farms.

For two decades, from 1991 to 2011, Union Street Bus Company was awarded the regional public contract to operate the bus system that served New Bedford, Fall River, and other towns, but all along, George had Union Street employees work at his farm during the bus company’s designated hours, prosecutors said during his 2015 trial.

I'm kind of wondering who must have been driving those buses, and why no one ever said anything? Is it possible they were undocumented illegals, and is it also possible the Globe is omitting that?

I'm sorry, but if you are a citizen of the country and are hired to drive a bus, you ask questions if they are taking you to the farm everyday. Is that how authorities eventually found out about it? Investigated the farm?

In court papers in the 2015 case, prosecutors said George’s fraud harmed needy bus patrons.

“Sadly, in the end, George’s victims included those who were most vulnerable — the needy and handicapped passengers in Southeastern Massachusetts,” prosecutors wrote in 2015.

Waiting for a bus that never comes.

George’s lawyer, William J. Cintolo, countered in court filings in the 2015 case that his client was a hard worker who always stood ready to lend a hand to people in need. Cintolo included excerpts from letters that a number of George’s supporters had submitted to the court attesting to his altruism.

You mean altrui$m, right?

“John George has a long history of doing good deeds and helping others,” Cintolo wrote. “ Joseph Cosentino, the government’s first witness said what everyone in Dartmouth already knew — John George worked too hard and too long, especially during the growing season.”

Cintolo added that “ above all else George is a farmer, with a farmer’s sense of work and respect for sowing seeds and reaping harvests.”

And for that we should excuse him and leave him unaccountable for his actions so it can undermine the public trust.


The sad part is this is exactly the kind of guy the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution, and he's a symbol of the monied corruption the founders were alarmed about only a few short decades after ratification.