BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR CONVICTED ON FEDERAL PUBLIC CORRUPTION AND FALSE STATEMENT CHARGES
BOSTON, Mass. - Boston City Councilor CHARLES “CHUCK” TURNER was found guilty today by a federal jury of taking a $1,000 bribe and then making false statements to FBI.
Turner, 70, of Boston, was convicted today by a federal jury following 11 days of trial and one day of deliberations on charges of attempted extortion under color of official right as a Boston City Councilor and making false statements to federal agents.
“Public corruption erodes the confidence that the public has in our system. Today’s verdict should send a strong message that no one is above the law,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “The reason that Mr. Turner now finds himself a convicted felon is because of the choices he made – by his own free will – to take money from Mr. Wilburn and then lie about it later, betraying the very people he was elected to serve.”
Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said, “Investigating public corruption is one of the FBI’s top criminal priorities because these crimes undermine the public’s trust in the government. This case demonstrates that the FBI is committed to pursuing any and all corruption in legislatures, courts, city halls, regulatory agencies and other government agencies.”
Evidence at trial established that in the Spring of 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in conjunction with the Boston Police Anti-Corruption Unit, undertook a long-term covert operation, which included audio and videotaped recordings, aimed at exploring allegations against Turner and former Massachusetts State Senator Dianne Wilkerson. In early August 2007, TURNER accepted $1,000 in cash from a cooperating witness who was seeking to obtain a liquor license for a proposed club in Roxbury. The payment, which was made in Turner’s district office, was captured in a surreptitious video recording.
On October 28, 2008, shortly after Wilkerson was arrested on related federal corruption charges, federal agents met with Tuner in his City Hall office where he was asked about his interactions with the cooperating witness and whether the witness ever paid him any money. Turner falsely denied ever taking any cash payments.
Judge Woodlock scheduled sentencing for January 25, 2011. Turner faces up to 20 years imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the attempted extortion charge. He faces five years in imprisonment, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each of the false statement charges.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI - Boston Field Office: Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis and William Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Division made the announcement today.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. McNeil, Deputy Criminal Chief and Assistant U.S. Attorney James Dowden of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.