Lawrence Perlmutter, a Massachusetts criminal defence lawyer, has executed a Plea Agreement, admitting to Federal charges of money laundering, and money laundering conspiracy. He has agreed to accept a sentence of 66 months for conducting a money laundering operation designed to clean narcotics profits through the porting of bail of criminal defendants arrested in Massachusetts on state drug charges.
The scheme operated in this way:
(1) Defendants arrested on heroin or cocaine charges in Massachusetts would send a representative to a Perlmutter confederate, who operated a notary & tax preparation centre, and pay over the full amount needed to post a bond for the individual, plus a substantial fee.
(2) The cash then was deposited into Perlmutter's Trust Account, which is supposed to be used to hold client money. The remitter was marked as an associate of the defendant.
(3) A cashier's cheque was purchased immediately, and the cheque delivered to cover the in-custody individual's bond. Permutter was generally not the lawyer for the defendant being released.
(4) The member of the defendant's organisation named as remitter made the bond payment.
(5) After the case was over, the bond money, less any fees, was returned, in cheque form, to the declared owner. This in effect resulted in the narcotics traffickers obtaining a cheque for their illicit cash.
What was this lawyer thinking ? All those cash deposits, none of which actually qualifies as funds of a client being held in trust. The money was immediately converted to cashier's cheques, which is a major red flag of money laundering. Such activities were bound to be found suspicious, sooner or later, by bankers or law enforcement agents.
An investigation initiated by the Boston Police Department resulted in the indictment of Perlmutter and his co-conspirator. Sentencing has been set for 12 January, 2012.
*United States vs. Perlmutter, Case No: 1:10-cr-10061-NMG (D Mass) .