Saturday, November 01, 2014 10:08am
North Adams, MA now: 43 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
Former Lee Police Chief Facing Federal Charges
Staff Reports On: 04:25PM / Wednesday September 03, 2014
Important
0
Interesting
1
Funny
1
Awesome
0
Infuriating
4
Ridiculous
5

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A former Lee police chief is facing further charges related to stealing from a Christmas toy fund.

Joseph Buffis, 56, of Pittsfield was charged Thursday in U.S. District Court in a superseding indictment with three counts of wire fraud, mail fraud and four counts of money laundering, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office.

On Aug. 8, 2013, Buffis was charged in an initial indictment with extortion and three counts of money laundering.

According to the superseding indictment, Buffis used his position as a police officer to solicit public donations on behalf of the Edward J. Laliberte Toy Fund, ostensibly to use for toy purchases for needy families, primarily by sending notices on Lee Police Department letterhead to The Berkshire Eagle, which regularly published them in its print and online editions.

Buffis' notices were materially fraudulent and false, say prosecutors, in that they failed to disclose that he was using a substantial part of the donations for his personal use. Donated toys, they say, were distributed to mask the diversion of cash and check contributions.

As alleged in the superseding indictment, from January 2007 through December 2011, Buffis deposited 706 checks into the Toy Fund account from 343 different donors totaling $52,105. During this same period, he deposited cash only once: a deposit of $145 on Nov. 23, 2010. Buffis wrote only one Toy Fund check of $250 to a needy family in December 2009. From Jan. 1, 2007, through Jan. 31, 2012, Buffis wrote approximately 53 checks totaling approximately $51,044, a substantial portion of which he used for the benefit of himself and his family. These checks included checks written to Buffis and/or "Cash" and deposited into accounts which he owned with family members.

Also, in February 2012, Buffis extorted a $4,000 check payable to the Toy Fund from two individuals who were facing prostitution-related charges, according to the indictment. He deposited the check into the Toy Fund's bank account and quickly withdrew $3,990 with three checks that he wrote to "Cash" but deposited into a joint bank account that he operated with his wife.

In addition, after becoming chief in 2011, he arranged for the town of Lee to provide the police force with four iPhones — one for himself and three for other officers. Rather than distribute the three iPhones, he gave them to his wife and their two children for their own personal use, according to the indictment, and cost the town $5,091 for the phone service.

The charging statutes provide a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 on each count.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Vincent B. Lisi, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Timothy P. Alben, commissioner of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement Thursday. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Ortiz's Springfield Branch Office.



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
McCann Tech Recognizes 28 Adams Scholars
Battalion Wins in OT
Berkshire Activists Lobby for Yes on Question 2
The Meat Market Offers Offal Dinner for All Hallow's Eve
'St. Vincent': Absolved of All its Sins
These Mysterious Hills: Pittsfield's Downtown Awash in Ghostly Legends
Pittsfield Debates Control Over School Department Budget
Lenox Calling Special Town Meeting
Community Bids Farewell to MCLA's Grant & Canavan
Adams COA Loads Up 'Buckets of Sand' for Local Senior Citizens
Crimewatch Links

North Adams CrimeWatch

Stamford/Clarksburg CrimeWatch

Pittsfield CrimeWatch

Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
Clarksburg 413-663-7795
Cheshire 413-743-1501
Dalton 413-684-0300
Great Barrington 413-528-0306
Lanesborough 413-443-4107
Lee 413-243-2100
Lenox 413-637-2346
North Adams 413-664-4944
Pittsfield 413-448-9700
Richmond 413-698-3315
Stockbridge 413-298-4179
Williamstown 413-458-5733
West Stockbridge 413-232-7938
State Police  
Cheshire Barracks
413-743-4700
Lee Barracks 413-243-0600
Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263

 



Categories:
Adams (33)
Alford (0)
Becket (6)
Cheshire (9)
Clarksburg (27)
Dalton (4)
Egremont (0)
Florida (4)
Great Barrington (9)
Hancock (4)
Hinsdale (2)
Lanesborough (13)
Lee (11)
Lenox (9)
Monterey (0)
Mount Washington (0)
New Ashford (3)
New Marlborough (1)
North Adams (129)
Otis (2)
Peru (1)
Pittsfield (136)
Pownal (9)
Readsboro (9)
Richmond (8)
Sandisfield (2)
Savoy (4)
Sheffield (2)
Stamford (25)
State (1)
Stockbridge (4)
Tyringham (1)
Washington (1)
West Stockbridge (1)
Williamstown (49)
Windsor (1)
Archives:
October 2014 (10)
September 2014 (14)
August 2014 (21)
July 2014 (13)
June 2014 (16)
May 2014 (15)
April 2014 (10)
March 2014 (1)
Tags:
Fire Armed Robbery Robbery Shooting Mvi Rape Stabbing Dui Embezzlement Break-ins Cocaine Fatal Veremko Arrest Crash Drugs Search Larceny Homicide Accident Police Fraud Drug Charges Motor Vehicle Accident Buglaries Vehicle Crime Watch Assault Motor Vehicle Structure Fire Missing Persons Murder Heroin Injuries Road Closure
Popular Entries:
Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead
North Adams Woman Killed in Route 2 Crash
North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home
Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg
Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
North Adams Man Arraigned on Child Porn Charges
Cariddi Auto Sales Burns
Donations Reach State Road Fire Victims
Pittsfield Police Identify Parking Garage Death
Mayor's Wife Arrested for Shoplifting
Recent Entries:
Two Students Arrested at Different Schools with Loaded Weapons
Local Man Sentenced to Life After Guilty Plea in North Adams Murder
Williamstown Investigating Rash of Business Break-ins
Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 14 - Oct. 24
State Police Traffic Stop Turns Up Bags of Heroin
Police Seeking Man Wanted for North Adams Assault
Pittsfield Police Searching For Missing Woman
Superior Court Briefs: Oct. 7 - Oct. 9
Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 26 - Oct. 2
Suspicious Blaze Destroys Vacant North Adams House


View All
Soccer: McCann Tech vs...
McCann Tech senior Austin Worth scores the game-winner in a...
Grant & Canavan Farewell...
MCLA President Mary Grant and her husband, James Canavan,...
Girls Soccer: Franklin Tech...
McCann Tech girls celebrate 3-0 semi-finals win advance to...
Girls Soccer: Pittsfield vs...
The Pittsfield and Wahconah girls soccer teams on Tuesday...
Soccer: Putnam vs McCann Tech
The McCann Tech boys soccer team closed out the home...
Soccer: Hoosac Valley vs...
MCLA Boo Bash 2014
The annual MCLA Boo Bash hosted by Berkshire Towers...
Girls Soccer: Commerce vs...
McCann girls soccer team Senior Day game on Monday...
Adams Lions Club Halloween...
Children followed the Hoosac Valley Marching Band down Park...
Girls Soccer : Mount Greylock...
Flynn scored her second goal of the game to stop a Hoosac...
Football: Mount Greylock vs...
The undefeated Wahconah High School football team shutout...
Football: Lee vs Monument
Saturday afternoon football Lee wins over Monument Mountain...
The Massachusetts Junior...
The Massachusetts Junior Classics League held its fall...
Football: Hoosac Valley vs...
Hoosac Valley overpowers Drury 63-12, Saturday afternoon.
Pittsfield Halloween Parade...
Monsters and zombies, princesses and Jedi ushered in the...
Soccer: Wahconah vs Lenox
Collin Parrott scored three times on Tuesday to lead the...
Soccer: McCann Tech vs...
McCann Tech senior Austin Worth scores the game-winner in a...
Grant & Canavan Farewell...
MCLA President Mary Grant and her husband, James Canavan,...
Girls Soccer: Franklin Tech...
McCann Tech girls celebrate 3-0 semi-finals win advance to...
Girls Soccer: Pittsfield vs...
The Pittsfield and Wahconah girls soccer teams on Tuesday...
Soccer: Putnam vs McCann Tech
The McCann Tech boys soccer team closed out the home...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved