The wife of Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston today to federal tax fraud charges related to an offshore sports betting operation in Antigua.
Patrice Tierney, 59, chose not to contest prosecutors' allegations that she aided and abetted fraudulent income tax returns filed by Robert Eremian, a brother who lives in St. John's, Antigua.
Rep. Tierney issued a statement Tuesday defending his wife, contending that her brother betrayed her.
“She now realizes that the trust she formerly had in her brother was misplaced,’’ Rep. Tierney stated, adding, “I stand by Patrice in this difficult time.’’
Authorities say Patrice Tierney managed a bank account that her brother used as a destination for about $7 million he earned from operation of an Internet gambling site from 2003 to 2009. Tierney sent documents to her brother's tax preparer that characterized the deposits as commissions, prosecutors said.
A court filing charged that Patrice Tierney chose "a conscious course of deliberate ignorance" regarding the money flowing into Eremian's account.
In August, a federal grand jury indicted Eremian for racketeering and money laundering. He has not been apprehended and remains a fugitive.
Rep. Tierney's Republican opponent, Bill Hudak, called on the congressman to reveal what he knew and when he knew it, as far as his wife's management of the account is concerned.
Hudak, a first-time candidate running in the 6th Congressional District, told Boston.com: "Seven million dollars is a lot of money to pretend he knew nothing about."
Patrice Tierney's attorneys are expected to request that she be given probation rather than jail time.
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