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MARCH 23, 2011

BOSTON, Mass. - A Boston attorney was charged today in federal court with conspiring to launder drug proceeds and laundering drug proceeds.

ROBERT A. GEORGE, 56, of Westwood, was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiring to launder money and money laundering. The complaint affidavit alleges that, from early 2009 to 2011, GEORGE and a co-conspirator conspired to conceal the illicit source of more than $225,000 in drug proceeds. GEORGE allegedly did this by introducing an individual who was cooperating with the government to GEORGE’s co-conspirator who converted purported drug money into checks made payable to a fictitious undercover company.

According to the complaint affidavit, the cooperating witness (CW) represented to GEORGE and his co-conspirator, that he had large amounts of cash from drug trafficking. It is alleged that, on two separate occasions, the co-conspirator took the cash in exchange for a check he made payable to the fictitious undercover company. For this service, the CW was allegedly charged a substantial fee.

On another occasion, it is alleged that GEORGE told the CW that he would pay him a fee for bringing him clients. GEORGE allegedly then took $25,000 in cash from an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer client and made two separate deposits of that money, in amounts under $10,000 in order to avoid a reporting requirement, into his account at two different branches of his bank. GEORGE allegedly then gave the CW a fee in the form of a check made payable to a fictitious undercover company. According to the affidavit, GEORGE wrote in the memo line of the check that it was for “office disposal.” It is alleged that, in all of these transactions, GEORGE helped conceal the fact that the cash was what he understood to be proceeds of illegal drug trafficking.

GEORGE is charged with one count of a money laundering conspiracy for the $200,000 initially laundered; one count of money laundering for the $2,500 check he wrote to the cooperating witness as a fee for referring him a client; and one count of structuring for the two checks under $10,000 that he deposited into his account to avoid a reporting requirement.

“Defense counsel play a critical role in the criminal justice system, protecting important constitutional rights upon which we all depend,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “But when an attorney assists in the criminal concealment and laundering of drug money -- as is alleged in this case -- it impedes the administration of justice and is an affront to all ethical and law abiding members of the bar.”

“Money is the lifeblood of drug trafficking organizations. Today’s complaint alleges that Robert George participated in a money laundering scheme to conceal ill-gotten proceeds, thereby facilitating drug trafficking. If convicted, Mr. George is no better than those who distribute illegal drugs,” said Special Agent in Charge of the DEA, Steven Derr.

If convicted on the money laundering charges, GEORGE faces up to 20 years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of up to not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction. On the structuring charge, GEORGE faces up to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz, SAC Derr, of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Boston Field Division and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation - Boston Field Office made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Ortiz’s Strike Force Unit.

The details contained in the complaint affidavit are allegations. The defendant is
presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of


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