FORMER BOSTON CITY COUNCILOR SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS
BOSTON, Mass. - Former Boston City Councilor CHARLES “CHUCK” TURNER was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 36 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and forfeiture of $1,000, after being convicted of taking a $1,000 cash payment in exchange for official acts and then making false statements to FBI.
Turner, 70, of Boston, was convicted in October 2010 by a federal jury following 12 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.
“Mr. Turner was sentenced to prison today because of the choices he made and the actions he took during the course of this case,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “In 2008, Mr. Turner had the chance to assist the FBI in an ongoing public corruption investigation. Instead of telling the truth, he lied. He then went on to testify falsely under oath. It is the obligation of every elected official to be ethical and honest, and in this case, Mr. Turner was neither. Public corruption is more than a violation of the law, it erodes the public’s trust in the very system that was designed to protect us.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard DesLauriers said, “Crimes that undermine the public’s trust in the government will remain one of the FBI's top criminal priorities. The FBI’s steadfast commitment and unique ability to pursue any and all corruption in legislatures, courts, city halls, regulatory agencies and other local, state and government agencies is reflected in today’s sentencing.”
During Turner’s trial, it was established that in June 2007, former State Senator Dianne Wilkerson sought Turner’s assistance in obtaining a liquor license for Roxbury businessman Ronald Wilburn. Wilkerson accepted $23,500, in bribes from Wilburn, a witness secretly cooperating with the FBI. In August 2007, Turner called Wilburn and invited him to his district office. Wilburn told the FBI that he believed that Turner was asking him for cash in exchange for official acts. Wilburn suggested to the FBI that he meet with Turner and pay him money. A video recording played at trial showed Turner accepting the $1,000 bribe, while simultaneously discussing his efforts to assist Wilburn in obtaining a liquor license.
On the day of Wilkerson’s arrest, agents visited Turner in his City Hall office to discuss that August 2007 cash payment. The agents wanted Turner to assist them in their ongoing investigation of public corruption and admit taking the cash. However, Turner repeatedly lied to agents to conceal his criminal conduct.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz; Special Agent in Charge DesLauriers 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 was being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. McNeil and James P. Dowden of Ortiz’s Criminal Divisioin.