PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Former EV Worldwide executive Michael J. Armitage was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in federal prison on Wednesday for fraud and tax evasion.
Armitage, 56, was at the center of the EV scheme that received more than $1 million in federal and local grants to develop first an electric bus and then a nickel-hydrogen battery in Pittsfield several years ago. The promises of a 1,000 jobs or more evaporated as state and federal investigators exposed the company's questionable finances.
U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor sentenced Armitage, appearing in federal court in Springfield, to 66 months in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release.
According to a press release from the U.S. Justice Department, he was ordered to forfeit $24,010, and pay restitution of $1.5 million to the IRS; $191,819 to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue; $4.2 million to the Federal Transit Administration; and $215,138 to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority.
He pleaded guilty in October 2010 to three counts of false statements to a federally insured financial institution; three counts of tax evasion; one count of false statements to a federal official; one count of conspiracy, one count of false claims; and one count of endeavoring to obstruct a federal audit.
In the EV WorldWide case, Armitage and co-defendants were convicted of defrauding the Federal Transit Administration and Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. The charge are also connected to Armitage's failure to file a personal income tax for 13 years despite raking in millions through Power Development Co., an energy company he founded, and defrauding United Bank of West Springfield.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The U.S. Justice Department has filed a complaint against the city claiming officials had violated federal laws when firefighter Jeffrey Rawson was denied a promotion because he missed work while serving in the Navy Reserve.
Rawson, backed by the Justice Department, is suing for retroactive back pay, benefits, seniority and the promotion that he would have received if he had gotten a lieutenant job in September 2010. The lawsuit states Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski cited absenteeism as the reason for denying the promotion and giving the promotion to the firefighter who scored just below Rawson on a November 2009 promotion test.
"No servicemember should be prevented from advancing in his or her civil career because of military duties," Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez said in a press release on Wednesday. "The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the rights of those who, through their bravery and sacrifice, secure the rights of all Americans."
According to media reports, Rawson was called to active military duty from October 2007 until November 2008, from February to June 2009 and from July to September of 2009 and the promoted firefighter had an "exemplary work record with minimal use of sick leave." Rawson claims the city violated federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against military reservists.
Additionally, Rawson claims the city refused to reinstate him on the promotion list after he complained to the U.S. Labor Department’s Veterans Employment and Training Service.
Former Pittsfield-based Pharmacist Sentenced For Stealing Pills
Staff Reports On: 02:30PM / Wednesday October 26, 2011
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A former pharmacist was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday to three years in prison for stealing OxyContin from Price Chopper and filling prescriptions with other drugs, the Boston Globe is reporting.
Nichole Bombardier, 31, of Cheshire pleaded guilty to tampering with consumer products charges in federal court in March 2010. Prosecutors claim Bombardier stole at least 239 OxyContin from three different bottles from the Pittsfield Price Chopper pharmacy between May and September of 2008. At least one customer was hospitalized after taking medication used to treat high blood pressure instead of the painkiller.
Bombardier was also sentenced earlier in the week to repay $15,500 in fines and restitution to her former employer and patient.
Murder Suspects Arraigned In Superior Court
Staff Reports On: 12:50PM / Tuesday October 11, 2011
Update, Oct. 13 at 12:38 p.m.: David Casey, 62, of Canaan, N.Y. had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of accessory after the fact, murder; three counts of accessory after the fact, kidnapping; and three counts of accessory after the face, intimidation of a witness.
Judge John Agostini ordered that he be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $1 million bail.
Update, Oct. 12 at 12:28 p.m.: David Chalue, 44, of North Adams entered not guilty pleas on three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping and three counts of intimidation of a witness Wednesday morning.
Chalue was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
PITTSFIELD, Mass — Two of the three men accused of committing the county's most notorious triple murder in recent history pleaded not guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Tuesday.
Adam Lee Hall, 34, of Peru had not guilty pleas entered on their behalf on three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping and four counts of intimidation of a witness. Caius Veiovis, 31, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of murder, three counts of kidnapping and four counts of intimidation of a witness.
The two are accused of kidnapping and killing David Glasser, 44, Edward Frampton. 58, and Robert Chadwell, 47, after the three went missing from a Linden Street apartment on Aug. 28.
Judge John Agostini ordered that the two be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without bail.
After a grand jury indicted four men last week and the case will now be heard in Berkshire Superior Court instead of Central Berkshire District Court.
Another man, David Chalue,44, of Springfield faces the same charges but did not appear in court on Tuesday and David Casey, 62, of Canaan, N.Y., faces accessory after the fact charges for allegedly supplying the excavation equipment used to bury the bodies of the three men in Becket.
Grand Jury Hands Down Indictments In Triple Murder... 10-06-2011 - PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A grand jury handed down indictments Thursday to the four men involved in the alleged triple homicide case. Adam Lee Hall, 34, David Chalue,44, Caius Veiovis, 31, and David Casey, 62, have...
Witnesses In Triple Murder Case Testify To Grand Jury 10-05-2011 - PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Under the guise of Commonwealth vs John Doe, witnesses in the triple homicide case that has garnered international attention have been summonsed to appear before a grand jury this week. Adam...
Police Search Apartment Connected To Murder Suspect 09-23-2011 - NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Law enforcement authorities were searching a city home on Friday afternoon listed as an address for murder suspect David Chalue. State and local police, as well as FBI according to a...
Three Arraigned in Pittsfield Triple Homicide 09-20-2011 - PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three suspects pleaded not guilty on Monday morning to murder charges stemming from the discovery of the bodies of three Pittsfield men, first reported missing Aug. 28. The arraignment...
4th Suspect Charged in Pittsfield Murder Investigation 09-20-2011 - PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Another suspect was arraigned this morning in Central Berkshire District Court as part of the ongoing investigation into the triple homicide conspiracy that has rocked the region. David...
Foul Play Feared in Fate of Missing Men 09-08-2011 - PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Rumors abound as tight-lipped authorities continue to investigate the disappearance of three men missing from Pittsfield since Aug. 28. David Glasser, Robert Chadwell and Edward Frampton...
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Under the guise of Commonwealth vs John Doe, witnesses in the triple homicide case that has garnered international attention have been summonsed to appear before a grand jury this week.
Adam Lee Hall, 34, Caivus Veiovis, 31 and David Chalue, 44, have been charged with the killing of David Glasser, Robert Chadwell and Edward Frampton, after allegedly abducting the three men from a Linden Street apartment on or around Aug. 28. The case will go before a pre-trial jury on Wednesday and the trials of the three accused men are set to begin on Oct. 12.
One witness summonsed to testify before the grand jury received notice just 24 hours before the proceeding. The summons lists the case as Commonwealth vs John Doe, but the witness, who says she has been questioned repeatedly by investigators the first few days after the three deceased were reported missing, understood that she would be there to discuss her prior association with Hall.
The witness, who requested her name be withheld, said she knew nothing specific about this case and that her statement revolved around possible criminal acts related to her prior association with Hall. She said she had been questioned by police on the case both before and after the discovery of the three men's bodies and the subsequent arrests.
"They asked me all sorts of stuff, like did I know Leo [Hall] was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, and 'what do you know about Freakboy [Veiovis]?' But most of what I know about it all is from the news," the witness said.
Ocean Sutton, the 22-year-old girlfriend of Chalue, has confirmed that she will also appear before grand jury members the following day, on Thursday at 11 a.m. Sutton, whose apartment and parents' house have both been searched in connection with the case, declined to offer any further comment until she has spoken with an attorney.
Sutton has previously stated she believes the three men to be innocent.
Fred Lantz, spokesman for the Berkshire County district attorney's office, said on Tuesday that there was no new information available to the public at this time.
There has been an intensive investigation on a countywide scale since the Sept. 11 announcement that Hall, Chalue, and Veiovis had been charged in the triple homicide. Investigators searched homes and property in Pittsfield, Becket, Peru, North Adams and multiple vehicles have been seized. On Sept. 20, wet-suited police were seen near the Lenox Dale bridge where Hall was allegedly seen disposing of possible evidence prior to his arrest.
Officials have declined to comment on conflicting reports of an abandoned vehicle recovered from Pittsfield State Forest during the large-scale search there on Sept.3 and Sept. 4 or alternate rumors of a car brought to nearby Sayer's Auto Wrecking by the suspects to be crushed. To date, no official confirmation has been given that any evidence relevant to the murders was found in this area, despite the scope of the search there.
However, concrete barriers now block off the nearby section of Potter Mountain Road from just beyond Sayer's and at the other end in Hancock.
Meanwhile, the commonwealth quickly made arrangement to purchase a section of property at the end of West Street in Pittsfield, through the Department of Conservation and Recreation, for the purpose of better blocking off access to the other side of the state forest. This intention was made known to the City Council on Sept. 13 and confirmed to iBerkshires by representatives from the DCR.
The number of witnesses to be heard by the grand jury this week remains unknown.