Congressman’s Wife to Plead Guilty to Tax Charges

For those who don’t watch television, listen to the radio, or get mail, yes, there’s an election in less than a month. And for one Congressman in Massachusetts, there’s some bad news.

Congressman John Tierney represents Salem and surrounding areas in the 6th Congressional District in Massachusetts. Mr. Tierney’s wife, Patrice, will plead guilty today to federal tax charges related to her helping to conceal her brother’s illegal sportsbetting business. The actual charges will be aiding and abetting filing false tax returns.

The charges stem from her brother’s operation of the Sports Offshore sportsbook. Mrs. Tierney allegedly provided incorrect information to the tax professional used by her brother, Robert Eremian. The bank account managed by Mrs. Tierney had something like $7 million, and those funds were “commission” income from “computer consulting” rather than funds from illegal gambling. (The Wire Act clearly prohibits sportsbetting in the United States except for licensed casino in areas such as Nevada.) The Eagle-Tribune notes,

Tierney released a statement yesterday saying that his wife accepts full responsibility for being “willfully blind” to her brother’s action. He said she acknowledges that she “should have done more to personally investigate the true nature of Mr. Eremian’s business activities. …”

That’s definitely the case, especially because it wasn’t Mr. Eremian’s first brush with tax trouble. Mr. Eremian pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 2002 for evading $58,422 in income tax. Today, Mr. Eremian is a fugitive.

As for Mr. Tierney, he is locked in a reelection fight. This is not a good year for Democrats in general, and even some Massachusetts Democrats face difficulties. For Mr. Tierney’s opponent, Bill Hudak, the disclosure today represents a political opportunity.

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