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Boston Lawyer Charged In Scheme To Hide Drug Money

A prominent Boston defense attorney has been charged with conspiracy and money laundering after allegedly plotting to conceal the source of more than $225,000 in drug money.

Prosecutors say that from early 2009 to 2011, Robert George and a co-conspirator tried to launder drug money. George allegedly introduced a person who was cooperating with the government to George's co-conspirator, who allegedly converted drug money into checks made payable to a fictitious undercover company.

George is also charged with paying the government witness a $2,500 fee for referring a client to him.

George made a brief initial appearance in federal court Wednesday and did not enter a plea. A judge approved his release on $50,000 unsecured bond.

His attorney, Rosemary Scarpiccio, said George denies the charges.

"I think it's outrageous that the government spends their money hiring someone who's already committed a crime to set up Mr. George in this case and not set up even a letter of reprimand for someone who knowingly uses information to put innocent people in jail," she said.

George has represented high-profile clients, including organized crime figures Frank Salemme and Johnny Martorano, and also Christopher McCowen, a trash collector convicted in the Cape Cod murder of fashion writer Christa Worthington.

George was arrested early Wednesday by federal drug enforcement agents. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

With reporting from WBUR's Deborah Becker and The Associated Press.

This program aired on March 23, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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