BOSTON - Three men were arrested and charged today in federal court with conspiring to rob a Norwood check-cashing business.
JOHN SALVUCCI, 65, of Medford, GEORGE WHALEN, 55, of Winthrop and JAMES CHAMBERS, 53, of Stoneham were arrested early this morning pursuant to federal arrest warrants.
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz said, “The actions alleged in the complaint involved a dangerous and violent plot to commit a robbery and kidnap a store owner. Thanks to the diligence and hard work of the investigative team, the plot was thwarted and the defendants now face federal criminal charges.”
“Early this morning, when the FBI and Massachusetts State Police SWAT teams arrested Mr. Salvucci, Mr. Whalen and Mr. Chambers, after a round-the-clock investigation by the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force, the violent conspiracy allegedly hatched by the trio was interdicted and halted, preventing harm to the intended victims,” said Richard DesLauriers, the FBI Special Agent In Charge. “The victims targeted in this plot, and the community at large, were spared needless violence because of the resolve of the FBI, United States Attorney’s Office, Massachusetts State Police, Boston, Medford, Saugus, Somerville, Norwood, Canton and Malden Police Departments to ensure the plot never came to fruition. The Commonwealth should derive comfort from our combined day-to-day efforts to prevent, detect and deter violent criminal activity, as exemplified by these arrests.”
The Complaint alleges that the three defendants conspired to rob Forest Hills Check Cashing in Norwood. It is alleged that in order to further the robbery conspiracy, in January 2012, Salvucci sought to obtain the assistance of an individual, who subsequently informed the FBI about the planned robbery and agreed to cooperate in the investigation of the robbery. In a series of recorded meetings, Salvucci told the cooperator that he, along with Whalen and Chambers, were going to rob Forest Hills Check Cashing because the defendants believed that the business carried a significant amount of cash. During these meetings, Salvucci allegedly discussed kidnaping the owner of the check-cashing business in order to use the owner to help them commit the robbery. According to the Complaint, Salvucci also told the cooperator that Whalen and Chambers would kidnap the owner from the owner’s home the morning of the intended robbery.
It is alleged that Salvucci told the cooperator that the three defendants were going to case the Norwood business on Jan. 21, 2012, in anticipation of the robbery. On Jan. 21, federal agents and law enforcement officers followed the three defendants as they traveled from north of Boston to the targeted business in Norwood. Agents and officers observed the three engage in various acts related to their gathering information about the business, including Whalen and Chambers entering the business itself.
If convicted on this charge, Salvucci, Whalen and Chambers each face up to 20 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Ortiz and SAC DesLauriers made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini and Michael Crowley of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.