Former Dartmouth Selectman Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison for Embezzlement
BOSTON – A former Dartmouth Selectman and former State Representative was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for embezzling funds from his bus company, which was subsidized with taxpayer funds, to bankroll his personal farm.
John George, Jr., 68, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $688,772 in restitution to the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority. In April 16, 2015, George was convicted after a jury trial of one count of conspiracy and one count of embezzlement.
The defendant owned Union Street Bus Company (USBC), a New Bedford-based company that operated public buses. During the same period, George operated John George Farms (JG Farm), a large produce farm based in Dartmouth. From approximately 1991 to 2011, USBC was awarded the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) contract to operate the SRTA public bus system that served a region that included New Bedford, Fall River, and several other neighboring towns.
The evidence at trial showed that, while USBC had the SRTA contract, George conspired with certain individuals to have various USBC employees work at JG Farm during their assigned USBC work hours. Such farm work included plowing, loading produce, and operating a produce stand at JG Farm, all during USBC business hours. As part of the conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, George deployed USBC workers to JG Farm to repair George’s farm equipment, used USBC equipment and labor to provide personal out-of-state roadside assistance, and inflated his final yearly salary from $75,000 to $275,000 in an attempt to fraudulently boost his SRTA pension.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Theodore L. Doherty, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin Chao and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.