Ex-Rep’s bank boxes found stuffed with cash, prosecutors say
By NBP Staff | December 27, 2015, 14:31 EST
BOSTON – John George Jr., a former state representative from Dartmouth convicted earlier this year on embezzlement-related charges, concealed more than $1 million in wads of cash in safe deposit boxes after telling a federal judge he had less than $200,000 in available assets, according to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in Boston.
Federal marshals uncovered the stash and seized the funds last week, according to a statement Ortiz released Wednesday.
George, 68, was sentenced in July to 70 months in prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority through the Union Street Bus Co., which he owned, according to the statement. He was also ordered to pay almost $689,000 in restitution and forfeit $1.38 million.
In July, George told U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper that he had about $28,000 in cash and “liquid assets” of about $160,000, according to the statement from Ortiz, the top U.S. Justice Department prosecutor in Massachusetts. George ran John George Farms, which was described as the largest retail produce farm in the region, and through his bus company, he oversaw the transit authority serving New Bedford, Fall River and other parts of the region for about 20 years.
Federal marshals who last week gained access to George’s safe deposit boxes found several oversized containers stuffed to the brim with rolls of cash at banks in New Bedford and Fairhaven, according to Ortiz and John Gibbons, the U.S. marshal for Massachusetts. According to the statement, George had deposited just $5,000 in cash into his farm business’s checking account from 2007 to 2011, even though the farm stand did most of its business in cash.
While George’s bus company held the transit authority contract, he had at least one employee work at his farm during hours they were assigned to work for the transit service, according to the statement from Ortiz.
A Dartmouth selectman at the time, George was convicted in April of embezzling from an organization that received federal funds and of conspiring to defraud the U.S., according to the Standard-Times in New Bedford.
George served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1989 to 1990, according to state archives. He resigned before the end of his first term after his bus company won the contract to run the transit service, to avoid a potential conflict of interest, according to SouthCoastToday.com.