This Month in Corruption: Smuggled Drugs, Bogus Billing, Tampered Equipment

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wrong Way to Keep Prisoners in Line.  The office of William D. Weinreb, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, announced March 3 that two former corrections officers at the Essex County Correctional facility in Middleton had been sentenced for their involvement in getting a drug used to treat opioid addiction into the jail and conveying it to inmates.  

The Weinreb announcement said that Katherine Sullivan, 32, of Londonderry, NH., was sentenced to 36 months of probation, 120 hours of community service, and was ordered to pay a fine of $5,000, after having pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring with inmates to distribute Suboxone, and that John S. Weir, 34, of Danvers, received the same sentence as Sullivan after a guilty plea on an identical charge.
Inmates who received Suboxone from Sullivan and Weir reportedly sold the drug to other prisoners.

Wrong Way to Fund Big Lifestyle. On March 15, a pain management physician pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston in connection with a scheme to defraud Medicare and other health insurers, and then using the proceeds of his illegal activity to support “his extravagant lifestyle.”
Fathallah Mashali, 62, pleaded guilty to 27 counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and 16 counts of money laundering, according to the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Weinreb.  Judge Rya W. Zobel set June 21 as Dr. Mashali’s sentencing date.

In describing Dr. Mashali’s lifestyle, federal authorities pointed out that “he ordered the construction of a carriage house, outfitted with a squash court and movie theater, at his Dover home.”

Wrong Way to Steward the Environment.  On March 22, Berkshire Power Company and Power Plant Management Services were sentenced in federal court in Springfield for tampering with air pollution emissions equipment. 
Power Plant Management Services was also sentenced for submitting false information to both environmental and energy regulators relating to the Berkshire Power Plant in Agawam.

Judge Mark G. Mastrioanni ordered Berkshire Power to pay $2.75 million in criminal fines for violations of the Clean Air Act and to make a $750,000 community service payment to the American Lung Association to fund a program for the replacement of polluting wood-burning stoves in western Massachusetts. 
Judge Mastrioanni ordered Power Plant Management Services to pay $500,000 in criminal fines for violations of the Clean Air Act and the Federal Power Act and to make a $250,000 community service payment to the lung association’s wood stove change-out program.

In addition to the criminal fines outlined above, the two companies have agreed to pay $3,042,563 in civil penalties and disgorgement, plus interest, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for their misrepresentations to the operator of the New England power grid regarding the Agawam plant’s availability to produce power, according to federal authorities.

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