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BOSTON ATTORNEY CHARGED IN MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2010

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.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Steven Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Division; 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.
“Allegations of an attorney, or any other officer of the court, hiding or laundering illegal drug money undermines the criminal justice system, shakes the public’s confidence and is an affront to all of the ethical and law abiding members of the system,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.

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. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary R. Hafer of Ortiz's Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force Unit with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Trach.

The details contained in the Complaint Affidavit are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

 

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