Ahead of Tierney press conference, Tisei asks “what should John Tierney have known?”

John Tierney is holding a tell-all press conference at 2 PM the day before the Fourth of July to talk about his family's gambling ring. The timing couldn't have been better for this news dump. The Richard Tisei campaign has put together an extensive dossier for the press ahead of this news conference. You can see it, in its entirety, below.

WHEN COULD JOHN TIERNEY HAVE KNOWN? PUBLISHED NEWS REPORTS INDICATE A SERIOUS LACK OF CANDOR (Lynnfield, MA) — For the past several days, Congressman John Tierney has insisted that he knew nothing of his family's illegal gambling business until the government presented the most recent case against one of his two brother-in-laws in November 2011. Following are news articles dating back through the 1980s which reveal that the Congressman had to have known or suspected that something was rotten in Antigua – and that his wife was being paid directly from the illegal gambling empire. What follows is an extensive group of independent news clippings through the past decades:

more after the jump

ROBERT AND DANIEL EREMIAN BACKGROUNDER

Updated:  June 27, 2012

 

 

 

 

John Tierney:  “This is the 21st century and what Patrice does with her family and family                                business is not something, as her husband, that I look over and monitor                                    day-to-day.”

                        (Newburyport News, 10/12/2010, “Tierney and the ‘21st Century Marriage’”

           

John Tierney:  “She (Patrice) now realizes that the trust she formerly had in her brother was

misplaced….”   (The Salem News, 10/6/2010, “Tierney’s wife to cop to tax charges”)

 

Patrice Tierney:  (under oath at Daniel Eremian’s trial, 11/21/2011):  “she (Patrice) insisted

yesterday, despite her plea last fall to being ‘willfully blind’ as to the true source of money her brother was sending, that she had no reason to doubt his claim to

authorities that he was working as a ‘software consultant.’”

(The Salem News, 11/22/2011, “Tierney’s Wife Still Believes Brother is a ‘Consultant’”)

 

Government’s Description of Eremian’s Illegal Operation and Patrice Tierney’s Role:

 

The size and scope of Eremian’s business was daunting.  He employed fifty agents in the United States who managed hundreds of customers.  Lyons himself collected over $22 million between 1998 and 2006 when records were seized from his home.  Eremian created multiple entities to facilitate payments from U.S. customers who preferred to pay by check and/or wire transfer.  These entities included Benevolence Funding, Ltd., DeSoto Ltd., and GL Holdings, Ltd.  During the time period alleged in the superseding indictment, over $10.3 million in checks and wire transfers were laundered through these entities….

 

Robert Eremian laundered millions of dollars through a bank account in Salem, Massachusetts handled by Eremian’s sister, Patricia Tierney.  Tierney is the wife of

Massachusetts Congressman, John Tierney.  Eremian used his sister, Patrice Tierney, to manage his U.S. finances.  Tierney paid Eremian’s credit card bills, real estate taxes, income taxes, and property maintenance expenses.  Tierney also distributed funds to members of Eremian’s family in the U.S, including Eremian’s mother, wife, and children.  Tierney managed and had signatory authority of a bank account at the Salem branch of Bank of America in the name of Robert Eremian.  Eremian funded this account largely through wire transfers from the Overseas Bank of Antigua.  Tierney routinely accessed this account for approximately $20,000 per annum for herself.  Over the period 2003 through 2009, approximately $10 million has been deposited in this account and disbursed by Tierney.”

 

(Government’s Trial Brief, p. 3-4, Crim. No. 10-10159, Document 122, Filed 9/14/2011).

 

 

 

 

Three questions to consider:

 

1.      Congressman Tierney has said repeatedly that he had no way of knowing that his wife and brothers-in-lay, for whom she kept the books, were involved in illegal activities.  Does the scope of publicly available information regarding the Eremians (including the front page of the NY Times on January 26, 1998) indicate otherwise?

 

2.      Under oath last November at her brother’s trial (after being declared a “hostile witness” by the government), was Patrice Tierney being truthful when she asserted that she still believed her brother was merely a software consultant?

 

3.      Why did John Tierney stand silently by as Patrice Tierney asserted “spousal privilege” in order to avoid answer questions under oath?

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Eremians’ early trouble with the law.. 1

Eremian’s bookmaking in the news2

1995 Raid of Eremian home4

Tax evasion conviction4

Illegal gambling indictment 6

Aftermath of indictment 7

Patrice Tierney pleads guilty8

Tierney defends his family12

Campaign finance questions14

Mass. GOP files ethics complaint 14

Prosecutors move to seize Eremian family homes15

Daniel Eremian’s trial, sentencing and aftermath15

Tierney visited Antigua gambling business21

 

 

Eremians’ early trouble with the law

 

Robert Eremian’s “long list of offenses, most of them misdemeanors, that date to 1971, when [he] made his first court appearance on motor vehicle violations.” (Julie Manganis, Robert Eremian files show a long gambling history,” The Salem News, 10/15/2010)

 

Both Eremian brothers were arrested for marijuana smuggling in 1978.  “State and federal drug agents raided an oceanfront estate Thursday, wrapping up a sea-and-land marijuana smuggling bust in which an estimated nine tons of pot was seized and 11 persons were arrested, investigators said. Eight suspects, most of them from Massachusetts, were arrested following a month-long stakeout at the rented house in West Tremont, a tiny fishing village near Bar Harbor. The arrests came about 36 hours after the Coast Guard – acting on its own – boarded a 55-foot sailboat near Monhegan Island and apprehended three crewmen. All 11 suspects were charged with conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, said U.S. Attorney George J. Mitchell. … Arrested at the estate were Mary Jacqueline DiVenuti of Gloucester, Mass.; Arthur L. DiVenuti III of Gloucester; Linda Jo Varnum of Chelmsford, Mass.; Leland Scott Cole of North Andover, Mass.; Robert J. Eremian of Beverly, Mass.; Daniel J. Eremian of Swampscott, Mass.; Richard J. Valliere of Manchester, N.H., and Aimee Garvey of Littleton, Mass. The eight were to be arraigned in Bangor.”  (The Associated Press, 5/25/78)

 

·         Smuggling operation was sophisticated and well-planned.  “It was an era when drug smugglers were drawn to the sparsely populated Down East coastline, and offshore busts were not uncommon. The crew at the Mount Desert Island estate, where the Eremians and half a dozen others were arrested in 1978, were not unsophisticated. According to court documents, they brought scales, radio equipment, and nautical charts, and installed a gangway at the estate's deep-water dock to prepare for the arrival of the Southern Belle, a yacht carrying bales of marijuana worth more than $5 million in street value…” (Jenna Russell, “Family ties prove thorny for Tierney; Wife’s kin face legal woes again,” The Boston Globe, 11/28/2011)

 

·         Robert Eremian’s conviction for smuggling “led to a four-year prison term and a $4,000 fine …” (Julie Manganis, Robert Eremian files show a long gambling history,” The Salem News, 10/15/2010)

 

·         “Daniel [Eremian] received three years of probation” for the smuggling operation.  (Jenna Russell, “Family ties prove thorny for Tierney; Wife’s kin face legal woes again,” The Boston Globe, 11/28/2011)

 

Robert Eremian and Daniel Eremian have been involved in illegal and questionable activities for most of their lives.  “Robert and Daniel Eremian started early down a rocky path. Their father, Robert G. Eremian, owned a bowling alley and later a bar; he drank heavily, several people with knowledge of the family said, and the home environment was chaotic. A third brother committed suicide, Patrice Tierney's lawyer said. By the time they were in their 30s, Robert and Daniel Eremian had both pleaded guilty to federal drug charges … Their convictions in Maine did not slow the Eremians down for long, federal prosecutors allege. Following in his father's footsteps, Daniel Eremian ran a bar in downtown Peabody, Brodie's Pub, in the 1980s. Before he lost it in his 1993 divorce, a trial brief alleges, he ‘solicited customers from the bar for Robert's gambling business.’ One former Brodie's regular, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the bar, known for its steak tips, friendly bartenders, and neighborhood vibe, was also known to attract the betting crowd.” (Jenna Russell, “Family ties prove thorny for Tierney; Wife’s kin face legal woes again,” The Boston Globe, 11/28/2011)

 

Eremian’s bookmaking in the news

 

Robert Eremian was quoted in 1997 Boston Herald article as head of “legal sports book in Antigua.”  “The sports gambling industry has responded to the gambler's wish for faster and more frequent action. … If you feel your original bet looks shaky, there's a second-half line on every game in the NFL, as well as for every televised college game. ‘Today,’ says Bobby Eremian, ‘people want more than to just bet on the outcome of the entire game.’ Eremian, the managing director of Sport Off Shore, a legal sports book in Antigua, added, ‘Propositions like wagering on over or under rushing yards on, say Curtis Martin, (or) will there be a score in the last two minutes of the first half     It's a growing part of this business.’”  (I.M. Bettor, “The Bettor’s Edge,” Boston Herald, 10/31/97)

 

·         Eremian was quoted a number of subsequent times in Boston Herald regarding sports betting.  (Jim Lazar, “Back The Pack,” Boston Herald, 1/12/98; I.M. Bettor, “NCAA: Dance cards ready,” Boston Herald, 3/8/99; I.M. Bettor, “Titans cross the line,” Boston Herald, 1/24/00)

 

In January 1998, New York Times exposed how “Island Bookies” like Eremian “skirt U.S. law.”  (Brett Pulley, “With Technology, Island Bookies Skirt U.S. Law,” The New York Times, 1/31/98)

 

·         Eremian’s operation is run out of former Chinese embassy and included at least “25 telephone operators.”  “The reggae bands were warming up on Sunday evening for their daily ritual of entertaining the American tourists who line the beaches of this Caribbean island. But in the cozy back room of a modern house that once served as the Chinese embassy, past the lazy dogs in the yard and the bicycles in the driveway, Bob Eremian was entertaining Americans in a different way. It was two hours before the start of Sunday's Super Bowl game in San Diego, and Mr. Eremian, in short pants and bare feet, was sitting in front of three computer screens, overseeing a sports betting operation that would take more than 10,000 bets on the game before the day was over. ‘They're calling from all over the U.S. today,’ he said, as the 25 telephone operators seated in front of him quickly logged bets into their computers. ‘That's what people want to do,’ Mr. Eremian said. ‘Bet on sports.’”  (Brett Pulley, “With Technology, Island Bookies Skirt U.S. Law,” The New York Times, 1/31/98)

 

·         With sports wagering illegal in 48 states, some bookmakers, like Eremian, headed in West Indies.  “Wagering on sports is illegal everywhere in the United States, except for Nevada and Oregon. But over the past two years, a small number of bookmakers have packed up their lists of customers and traveled south, along with some first-time bookies, to take refuge in tiny West Indies countries like this one. Licensed by the local government and using advanced technology to communicate, set odds on games and record wagers, they have created hundreds of jobs for local residents and rapidly built an offshore sports book industry that gaming analysts say is taking in1 to 5 percent of the $100 billion that is bet illegally on sports each year in the United States.” (Brett Pulley, “With Technology, Island Bookies Skirt U.S. Law,” The New York Times, 1/31/98)

 

·         Almost half of offshore gaming operations are in Antiqua, thanks to exemption from corporate taxes the island offered bookies.  Of the approximately 60 offshore sports books in operation throughout the Caribbean and Central America, 25 are based in Antigua, according to local officials, who in 1994 created a free trade zone where the bookies can operate without paying corporate taxes. The gambling operations are spread around the region. Just off the northern coast of Venezuela, in Curacao, several sports books operate within a block of each other.” (Brett Pulley, “With Technology, Island Bookies Skirt U.S. Law,” The New York Times, 1/31/98)

 

Sen. Kyl called for legislation to improve efforts to prosecute these sports books.  “‘We need a new tool to prosecute the same old activity,’ said Senator John Kyl, Republican of Arizona. Mr. Kyl introduced legislation last year that would expand the current laws to include Internet gambling, and implement fines and jail terms for bookies and their customers. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard by the full Senate early this year. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider similar legislation next week.”  (Brett Pulley, “With Technology, Island Bookies Skirt U.S. Law,” The New York Times, 1/31/98)

 

Eremian was longtime bookie even before heading to Antigua.  “While most of the sports book operators, like Mr. Eremian, were bookmakers long before they left the U.S., some entrepreneurs moved here to start booking bets for the first time.” (Brett Pulley, “With Technology, Island Bookies Skirt U.S. Law,” The New York Times, 1/31/98)

 

Eremian acknowledged that his bookmaking operation would be illegal in U.S.  “Although many of the bookies and their families have found that life as expatriates here is hardly paradise — there are hurricanes, frequent water shortages and power outages — the idea of booking sports without being harassed keeps them here for now. ‘The reason I'm here in this country is because I can't do what I want to do in the U.S.,’ said Mr. Eremian, 45, who worked for 11 years as a bookie in Boston before moving his wife and four children here in 1996. ‘It feels great. I don't have to worry about the police coming and breaking the door down.’” (Brett Pulley, “With Technology, Island Bookies Skirt U.S. Law,” The New York Times, 1/31/98)

 

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