Mass. Attorney General to up focus on public corruption

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Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Wednesday she is creating a task force to focus on public corruption that has permeated the state’s political establishment.

Coakley says she intends to focus more on corruption in government by reorganizing her department.

The Democrat told the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce she will split an existing fraud and corruption unit in her office and refocus its workers. One new unit will focus on financial crimes, the other on public corruption.

The focus comes after the bribery convictions of former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and former Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. Turner was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison after U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock blasted what he termed the former councilor’s “ludicrously perjurious testimony” at trial.

Coakley told the business leaders attending the Chamber breakfast: “If we cannot ensure the integrity of our markets and of our government, then most of our efforts to rebuild our economy, at this stage, are undermined.”

Besides Wilkerson and Turner, former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi is also facing federal corruption charges, following criminal prosecutions against his two predecessors.

And Coakley herself is investigating allegations of fraudulent hiring practices within the state Probation Department, the Middlesex sheriff’s office and with Massachusetts Lottery advertising during last fall’s gubernatorial campaign by independent candidate Timothy Cahill.

Coakley has been accused of ignoring many corruption cases, especially involving her fellow Democrats who compose most of the state government, but she has said that in many cases, the federal government has better law enforcement tools to prosecute the crimes.

She also highlighted for her Chamber audience the more than 40 public corruption cases brought by her office – against members of both parties – and her focus on falsified training by EMTs seeking extra pay; false workers compensation and unemployment claims; and her successful recovery of more than $250 million during the past four years through Medicaid fraud prosecutions.

Coakley said both of the new units will be staffed with prosecutors trained in public corruption techniques, as well as the white-collar crime that will be targeted by the financial crimes unit.

The attorney general encouraged business leaders to cooperate with her efforts by turning in employees suspected of embezzlement, hacking and theft of company secrets.

“Sometimes it makes sense for you, in your businesses, to send a line to your employees, to send the message, that we do not take this lightly, we are not just going to write it off after we fire you – and, by the way, send you out in the world so you can go do it someplace else at another business,” she said.

Coakley kicked off her speech with a reference to the high-profile U.S. Senate race she lost a year ago to Republican Scott Brown. Noting she had been re-elected in November and sworn in last week, Coakley quipped that “twice now in the past year, the voters have said they want me to stay as attorney general.”

She also provoked murmurs as she repeatedly highlighted the good-citizenship theme highlighted in regular Citizens Bank television ads – as she stood in front of a Bank of America banner in recognition of its sponsorship of the breakfast.

Source: The Associated Press

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Comments (3)
  1. loni says:

    The auto damage licensing board consist of memebers from the insurance and the auto body repair industry when mr coyne was appointed to represent the repair industry by the governers council there was a outcry as to his industry status
    being the owner of a appraisal service representing several large insurance carriers
    how would he represent the interest of the repair industry
    now as seen he is being overly compansated by commerce insurance
    the boards duties and responsibility’s are to mediate
    being that all appraisers are licesned by the state for both sides of the industry the appraisers duty is see that fair and resonible practices in determinig repair cost
    based on the mgl 212 regulating auto damage appraisals (see attached)
    commerce insurance being the largest in the state consider themselves above the law
    now the repair indusrty board representative has been greatly benifiting
    as commerce shuts out independanat appraisal services who devoted 20 -30 years of service
    and had exclusive duties with commerce
    home & auto based in dorchester mass and owned by mr coyne have expanded into southeastern mass
    taking several drive in appraisal sites which is the where the highest volume of claims are dispatched
    it seems like a great conflict of interest if not plain old corruption
    commerce standards of appraisal and repairs are barely this side of legal
    what would happen to a shop appraiser if a complaint was filed against commerce
    who would mr coyne stand with the industry he represents or the company that’s filling his bank account
    our industry needs this voice we have no unions labor rates are always an issue
    the commerce supervisiors are like jack boot thugs showing up at shops verbally harassing shop owners and apprasisers
    and now have 4 voices on a five member board and are compensating him very well
    while putting small business and their families out of business

  2. LexOperator says:

    Current events: FBI #1 crime is public corruption. Above article, Massachusetts Attorney General to up focus on public corruption. Local news today, Rhode Island actually spelling out laws to prevent corrupt public officials from receiving a pension… And there are so many more examples. Unprosecuted crimes are rampant (though anonymous) in the public record (especially public officials), including in media such as know all – tell all books etc… Unprosecuted crimes which are copy written by the Library of Congress are the given which reveal the obvious. Two fold in that the original crime is protected by the copyright, and inherent to that is that everyone touts the compromise to all of the Legislation…
    One accurate statement that stands true is that the federal government is better equipt to handle public corruption than local or state authorities.
    Reasoning: Fifty state employees is about the normal number of public servants necessary to process one case. Whether it be in one office or just the people that they work with everyday. I have the perfect example of public corruption copy written myself. There is no way that the crimes in my book should be left unprosecuted in a court of law and in fact before a jury of the general public.
    9-11-2001 (911) is another indicator. Why were the flights hi-jacked from Boston? Case cutters were used to facilitate the double hi-jacking leading to the 9/11 attacks on the WTC. 9/11 is one of the most copy written murders in history. Why?

  3. Cheryl Ahmed says:

    Voters have not decided that they wanted you for Attorney General; you ran unopposed. Had anyone ran against you, I would have campaigned for them. When I found out you that we were stuck with you again, I cried for hours. I still cry about it still, now and then.
    So, what is this “Task Force” going to do? Re-write the Sorry-I’m-too-busy-to-deal-with-corruption form letter that you send to the victims of corruption?
    Update the lies on your website, where you shamelessly lie about how you handle civil rights violations and corruption?
    This is just another one of your self-congratulatory schemes; yet another facade to fool the constituents. The truth is that victims of corruption have no where to turn to in Massachusetts.

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