Milton Woman Pleads Guilty to Tax and Drug Charges Arising from Multimillion-Dollar Marijuana Enterprise
BOSTON – A Milton woman pleaded guilty today to her role in a marijuana delivery service.
Deana Martin, 53, of Milton, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion, one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and three counts of money laundering. U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Sept. 1, 2021.
Martin and co-defendant Tatiana Fridkes were indicted in May 2019 in connection with their management of Northern Herb, a marijuana delivery service that operated in Massachusetts from 2015 to 2018. In September 2020, Fridkes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 3, 2021.
Martin owned and managed Northern Herb, which operated a website offering marijuana products for sale including raw marijuana, pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes and marijuana edibles. While Northern Herb purported to provide medical marijuana, it did not require a customer to provide proof of a medical marijuana card. Furthermore, Northern Herb delivered marijuana to unattended locations (such as a front door or hallway) where unknown third parties could have accessed it. Northern Herb used locations in Canton, Milton, Foxborough and Hyde Park to store and distribute marijuana, and employed at least 25 workers.
From May 2016 through July 2018, Northern Herb’s revenue exceeded $14 million. Northern Herb did not withhold or pay taxes on its millions of dollars in marijuana sales and did not pay taxes on its profits. Much of the cash collected by Northern Herb from customers was used to pay its suppliers and its workers. In paying cash wages, Northern Herb did not withhold, remit, or pay any payroll or income taxes. Northern Herb did not report worker wages to the IRS via Form 941, nor did it issue W-2s or 1099s to its workers.
On the drug counts, Martin faces a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, at least three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million. The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the money laundered. The charge of tax evasion provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $100,000. Martin also faces restitution and forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division; and Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. The United States Postal Inspection Service also provided valuable assistance with this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bill Abely and John Mulcahy of Lelling’s Criminal Division and Assistant Chief Kathleen Barry of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.