The Associated Press

Rep. Tierney’s Wife To Plead Guilty To Tax Charges

BOSTON — The wife of Congressman John Tierney is set to plead guilty to federal charges she helped her brother conceal income from an alleged illegal offshore gambling business that generated millions of dollars.

Patrice Tierney, 59, of Salem, will plead guilty Wednesday afternoon to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns related to her fugitive brother, Robert Eremian, prosecutors said.

The congressman said his wife believed Eremian’s income came from selling or licensing software to legal Internet gambling businesses.

Tierney, a seven-term Democrat who is facing Boxford attorney Bill Hudak, a Republican, in next month’s election, said his wife accepts full responsibility for being “willfully blind” to her brother’s actions.

“I stand by Patrice in this difficult time,” Tierney said in a statement.

Hudak called on Tierney to make public what he knew about his wife’s role.

“Certainly, I’m disappointed to hear the allegations against the congressman’s wife, and the very first thing he needs to do is to fully disclose what he knew and when. I think he owes that to his constituents,” Hudak said Wednesday.

Hudak said voters will “draw whatever conclusions they feel appropriate” about the charges against Patrice Tierney.

If convicted, Patrice Tierney faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release and fines of as much as $100,000 on each of the false tax return counts.

Donald Stern, Patrice Tierney’s lawyer, said that under a plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend she receive probation with several months of home confinement. Stern, a former U.S. attorney, said he’ll ask for straight probation with no home confinement when she is sentenced later.

During the late 1990s, Eremian, 57, moved the headquarters of his illegal gambling business from Lynnfield, Mass., to Antigua, where he operated Sports Offshore, a website and toll-free telephone line, to service his U.S. customers, according to the charging document filed in court by the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Prosecutors allege he deposited profits from Sports Offshore into an account at Bank of America in Massachusetts.

Patrice Tierney allegedly managed some of her brother’s financial and family obligations through the account.

Prosecutors say she gave information to his tax preparer that mischaracterized her brother’s income as commissions and his employment as a computer consultant.

Eremian allegedly employed dozens of people in the United States who recruited customers and collected gambling debts and sent the money to Antigua. Eremian is accused of funneling millions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds to relatives in the U.S.

John Tierney, who represents the 6th District in northeastern Massachusetts, said his wife acted in good faith when she agreed to take care of her brother’s finances in the U.S. to help care for their ailing mother and serve as a de facto second mother to his three teenage children.

The congressman said his wife was devastated to learn her brother might have deceived her and others.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Eremian and another sibling, Daniel Eremian, face charges including racketeering, money laundering, operating an illegal gambling business and witness tampering.

Two other people, Richard Sullivan of St. John’s, Antigua, and Marblehead, as well as Todd Lyons of Beverly, face racketeering charges. Sullivan is also a fugitive, prosecutors said. They did not specify whether Lyons was in custody or had been released on bail.

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  • Deborah

    My heart goes out to the Tierneys. We all know John Tierney to be a terrific member of congress, helping his district and trying to look out for those in need.

  • http://wbur.org Douglas Fiero

    As a former resident in John’s district, and knowing both John and Patrice personally, I continue to admire and respect both as they go through this difficult time.
    Doug Fiero

  • mary

    “willfully blind” – give me a break.

  • Michael

    Seriously, ‘respect’ and ‘terrific’ are how people are referring to tax evasion for offshore gambling? You dupes believe that Patrice had no clue or that the congressman was completely unaware? I guess I should not be surprised by this reaction from the same constituency that returned a murder to the Senate every six years.

  • Robert Halpin

    This is very sad for John and Patrice but does not change the fact that John Tierney is one of the finest representatives in the U. S. Congress. I wish them the best as the work through this.

  • John Y.

    Mr. Tierny is a Democrat. Of course he should be given a pass. He certainly did not know anything about his wife’s affairs. Neither did she understand what she was doing. All of the media I am sure agrees…… (but it is a good thing for him that he is not a Republican.)

  • Edward L. Price 111

    Over the years, I have donated money and time to Congressman Tierney’s campaigns. Since the Republican party loves to instill Religion into the American Election cvycle etc., I suggest that we (you know you are)
    pray that our efforts will result in the re-election of
    John Tierney

    Edward L. Price 111

  • Cherie Hoyt

    Please note: The charges against Patrice Tierney were NOT for tax evasion. The government has NOT charged that taxes owed were not paid, but that she gave incorrect information as to the source of the income, ie: from ” “commissions” and that her brother’s profession was “consultant.” That’s what gave rise to the charges that she aided and abetted the filing of false tax returns. There is also NO charge that she benefited from the money in the account in any way. My heart also goes out to the Tierneys, and I hope that Patrice knows she has many friends and supporters in the district who wish her well in this very difficult time.

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