Worcester Business Owner Convicted of Money Laundering Conspiracy
BOSTON – The former owner of two Worcester restaurants pleaded guilty today in federal court in Worcester to conspiring with an employee to use drug proceeds to renovate and operate her Shrewsbury Street restaurant.
Stacey Gala, 29, of Worcester, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging her with conspiracy to commit money laundering. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for March 11, 2020.
During the plea hearing, Gala admitted that she owned and operated The Usual Restaurant on Shrewsbury Street beginning in October 2016, along with her husband Kevin Perry. Gala and Perry employed Joseph Herman as the manager of The Usual. In March 2017, federal authorities arrested Perry after he was charged with money laundering and drug distribution offenses.
After Perry’s arrest, Gala learned that Perry had concealed a significant amount of drug proceeds at a self-storage locker in Northborough. In May 2017, after Perry’s arrest, Gala and Herman conspired to retrieve the drug proceeds and to use them to renovate The Usual restaurant and to re-open the business under a new name and ostensibly new management.
In October 2017, Perry pleaded guilty to the money laundering and drug distribution charges and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. In January 2019, Herman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, making false statements to federal investigators and attempted witness tampering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 24, 2020.
The charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Boston Field Division; and Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Boston made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Greg A. Friedholm and John T. Mulcahy of Lelling’s Worcester Branch Office are prosecuting the case.