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Congressman's wife to plead guilty to tax charges

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Patrice Tierney and her husband U.S. Congressman John Tierney (WBZ-TV)

Massachusetts Congressman John Tierney’s wife, Patrice, is scheduled to plead guilty to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced on Tuesday.

Tierney, 59, of Salem, was charged for her role in assisting her brother’s preparation of false federal tax returns which concealed, among other things, her brother’s operation of an illegal gambling business, officials said.

ALLEGED OFFSHORE INTERNET GAMBLING SCHEME

According to the information, Tierney is the sister of Robert Eremian who was recently charged, along with Tierney’s other brother Daniel Eremian, with racketeering, money laundering, operating an illegal gambling business, use of wire communication facilities to transmit wagering information, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, false tax returns, witness tampering, and acceptance of financial instruments for unlawful Internet gambling.

Charges against Robert Eremian alleged that he moved the headquarters for his illegal gambling business from Massachusetts to Antigua during the late 1990’s where he operated Sports Offshore, an Internet site and toll free telephone line, to service his U.S. customers.

Eremian allegedly employed dozens of “agents” in the United States who recruited customers and collected gambling debts, forwarding the proceeds to Eremian in Antigua.

The Indictment further alleges that Eremian funneled millions of dollars that constituted illegal gambling proceeds to family members in the United States.

TIERNEY’S ALLEGED ROLE

The Information unsealed yesterday alleges that Tierney managed Robert Eremian’s U.S.-based finances through a Bank of America bank account in Massachusetts that was funded by Robert Eremian with the proceeds of illegal gambling activities.

Tierney maintained detailed records of financial transactions involving this account which were used to prepare Robert Eremian’s tax returns. Tierney provided information to Eremian’s tax preparer that mischaracterized Eremian’s income as commissions and Eremian’s employment as a computer consultant.

“The defendant Patrice Tierney engaged in a conscious course of deliberate ignorance regarding the true nature of Eremian’s income and Eremian’s ownership of Sports Offshore,” Ortiz said.

CONGRESSMAN STANDING BY HIS WIFE

In a statement issued on Tuesday night, Congressman Tierney said his wife was deceived by her brother. “Patrice has acknowledged and agreed that she should have done more to personally investigate the true nature of Mr. Eremian’s business activities in the course of carrying out his requests in paying his children’s household expenses, family medical bills, and his personal bills and taxes from a checking account in which he deposited funds.”

Congressman Tierney said his wife is accepting full responsibility for being “willfully blind” to what her brother was doing. “She now realizes that the trust she formerly had in her brother was misplaced and she should have more aggressively questioned Mr. Eremian when he asked her to pay his personal, some family obligations and tax payments from an account he funded.

“More specifically and while there are not any allegations of any income tax loss to the government, Patrice deeply regrets the role she played in forwarding his tax-related information that listed his earnings as ‘commissions’ rather than ‘illegal gambling’ income.”

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