News Release
For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2010
Contact: Special Agent Tony Pettigrew
Number: 617-557-2138

Boston Attorney Charged in Money Laundering Conspiracy

FEB 3 - BOSTON, MA - A Boston attorney and another man were charged today in federal court with conspiring to launder drug proceeds and with failing to file mandatory federal reports concerning large cash transactions.

Steven Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Division; United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Susan Dukes, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office; Colonel Marian McGovern, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis announced today that LAWRENCE M. PERLMUTTER, ESQ., age 50, of Newton, MA and SECUNDINO CESPEDES, age 50, of Dorchester, MA, were charged in a Criminal Complaint with conspiring to launder money and failing to file Forms 8300.

The Complaint Affidavit alleges all of the following: From 2006 to 2010, PERLMUTTER and CESPEDES conspired to conceal the illicit source of over $1.7 million in drug proceeds by converting the drug money into cashier’s checks. To do this, PERLMUTTER deposited over $1.7 million in cash, typically in small denomination bills, into a special type of account designed for attorneys to safeguard client funds known as an Interest On Lawyer’s Trust Account (“IOLTA”). After depositing the cash into his IOLTA account, PERLMUTTER immediately obtained cashier’s checks drawn on the IOLTA account that were used to bail out defendants with pending drug cases in various Massachusetts state courts. PERLMUTTER did not actually represent the defendants bailed out with checks drawn on his IOLTA account. By converting large amounts of cash into cashier’s checks, PERLMUTTER and CESPEDES enabled the associates of those drug defendants to avoid bringing cash directly to bail commissioners, which triggers mandatory federal reporting requirements and can subject the money to immediate seizure by law enforcement. In so doing, PERLMUTTER and
CESPEDES helped conceal from the authorities the fact that the cash used to bail out these defendants was proceeds of illegal drug trafficking. For this service, PERLMUTTER, CESPEDES, and their co-conspirators charged the associates of these drug defendants a substantial fee.

If convicted on the money laundering charges, PERLMUTTER and CESPEDES each face up to 20 years imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $3.5 million dollars. If convicted of failing to file Form 8300, PERLMUTTER faces up to 5 years imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Massachusetts State Police and the Boston Police Department.