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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wife of Bookmaker Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the Government

BOSTON – The wife of Joseph Yerardi, Jr., a previously convicted bookmaker, pleaded guilty and was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with hiding funds in overseas accounts to evade forfeiture payments to the U.S. Government.

Rafia Feghi, 69, who was born in Iran and lives in Newton, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns to one year and two days in prison, and all of the funds in a Liechtenstein account (now worth more than $1 million) were signed over to the United States government.  According to the terms of the plea agreement, Feghi also pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud the United States and to obstruct justice.

Over a period spanning more than 25 years, Feghi hid hundreds of thousands of dollars that her husband, Joseph A. Yerardi, Jr., earned from illegal bookmaking and loansharking, to evade a $916,000 forfeiture order and a $50,000 fine that were imposed on Yerardi when he was sentenced in 1995 on a federal racketeering conviction.  Feghi was charged with using multiple accounts under various names, first in Canada, and eventually in Liechtenstein, to hide the money from the United States government.

In 2010, the government of Liechtenstein notified the United States of a suspicious account that contained more than $800,000 and was controlled by Feghi, who had been convicted in 2009 of money laundering in connection with Yerardi’s illegal businesses.  Liechtenstein froze the suspicious account, and the United States filed court papers to obtain the money to satisfy Yerardi’s longstanding forfeiture order and fine.  From 2010 to July 2016, Feghi and co-conspirators repeatedly lied to the courts in Liechtenstein and the United States in attempts to hide the true ownership and source of the funds.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston, made the announcement today.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. Tabak of Ortiz’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit.

Updated September 26, 2016