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BOSTON, Mass. - The federal government has seized $237,000 in drug trafficking proceeds that had been posted as bail in various Massachusetts state courts after allegedly being laundered by Boston criminal defense attorney LAWRENCE M. PERLMUTTER and his co-conspirators.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Steven M. Derr, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Office, Susan M. Dukes, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division - Boston Field Office, Commissioner Edward Davis of the Boston Police Department and Colonel Marian McGovern, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police announced today that the bail monies tied to PERLMUTTER’s case were seized by federal authorities.

On March 2, PERLMUTTER was indicted by a federal grand jury for money laundering offenses. The indictment stemmed from allegations that he and his co-conspirators laundered drug proceeds by depositing 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).

It is alleged that 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. It is further alleged that in so doing, PERLMUTTER and his co-conspirators concealed from the state authorities that the cash used to bail out these defendants was proceeds of illegal drug trafficking.

As part of its ongoing investigation of this matter, federal agents identified seven drug cases in Massachusetts courts in which the defendant was currently released on bail that had been posted by PERLMUTTER and/or his co-conspirators. After obtaining federal seizure warrants for each of these seven bails, and working in close cooperation with the Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Bristol County District Attorney’s Offices, federal agents seized all seven bails, totaling $237,000 in drug trafficking proceeds.

“Defendants are entitled to be released on bail, but no one is entitled to be released on bail with money allegedly used in illegal activities,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz. “These seven defendants were freed with money allegedly tied to at least two serious crimes - drug trafficking and money laundering. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively pursue both drug trafficking and money laundering, in addition to seeking forfeiture of the illegal profits from those activities.”

“This operation would not have been possible without the outstanding cooperation of our colleagues in state and local law enforcement, specifically the District Attorneys in Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Bristol Counties,” she added. “I would also like to thank the Massachusetts Clerks of Court in each of those counties for all of their assistance.”

The case is being investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zachary R. Hafer and Richard L. Hoffman of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

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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