Home About Archives RSS Feed

Lee Police Chief Indicted On Extortion, Money Laundering Charges

Staff Reports

LEE, Mass. — Lee Police Chief Joseph Buffis was indicted in federal court Thursday on extortion and money laundering charges.

Buffis, 55, of Pittsfield allegedly extorted $4,000 in "donations" from two individuals who were facing charges related to prostitution, according to the U.S. attorney general's office. The donation was made payable to the Edward J. Laliberte Toy Fund, which Buffis had control over, and then withdrawn and deposited into Buffis' bank account.

According to prosecutors, the money was used to pay personal expenses. Buffis also allegedly lied to law enforcement about the funds.

"To be entrusted to serve and protect is a great honor and privilege. The alleged actions of Chief Buffis disgrace the many incredible law enforcement stewards who uphold and enforce the law.  Actions like these threaten the credibility of our justice system, and we will not stand idly by and allow the trust of our communities to be violated,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in a statement released on Thursday.

Buffis was indicted on the three counts of money laundering and a single count of extortion. He could face up to 20 years in prison on each count, followed by five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Buffis has not yet appeared in court for a plea.

The toy fund was named for Laliberte, a longtime Lee police officer, who in the 1950s began to provide toys for the town's needy children at Christmastime.

"The allegations contained in the federal indictment describe a serious breach of the public trust, and my office will continue to work with United States Attorney Ortiz and her office to see that justice is done and order restored," Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said in a statement. "It should be made clear that these accusations are made against one man, Joseph Buffis, not the Lee Police Department or any other members of its force. My office will continue to work proudly alongside the Lee Police Department to ensure safety and justice in the town of Lee and throughout Berkshire County."

The alleged crime was reportedly uncovered by Capeless' office and state police. The case is being tried out of the Springfield federal court.

"This is another example of a successful investigation and extraordinary teamwork between the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police, United States attorney and Berkshire district attorney's offices. The conduct charged in this indictment demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to pursue public corruption at any level. We will not tolerate these acts, especially from those who have sworn to serve and protect the community and its citizens,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Vincent B. Lisi in a statement.

Police are still seeking the public's assistance in the case. For those who have donated cash or toys to the fund or have applied to the fund are asked to contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Springfield agency at 413-732-0159.

Buffis Indictment

 

     

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
Crane Stationery Reinvesting in Rebranding, Workforce
New Associate Provider Joins SVMC Urology
Local Wealth Adviser Named to List of Best-in-State
Williams College Senior Wins Carnegie Junior Fellowship
Local Entrepreneurs Complete 1Berkshire Get Mentored Program
BCC Names New Director of Human Resources
What Should You Do With an Inheritance?
Cultural Pittsfield This Week: March 22-28
Questions Abound As Berkshire Mall Closes Again
Adams Brings on Two New Police Officers

Police Logs

Pittsfield Police

North Adams

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 (74)
Alford (0)
Becket (7)
Cheshire (20)
Clarksburg (41)
Dalton (5)
Egremont (2)
Florida (7)
Great Barrington (25)
Hancock (5)
Hinsdale (4)
Lanesborough (27)
Lee (14)
Lenox (11)
Monterey (0)
Mount Washington (0)
New Ashford (5)
New Marlborough (2)
North Adams (225)
Otis (2)
Peru (2)
Pittsfield (272)
Pownal (14)
Readsboro (15)
Richmond (7)
Sandisfield (5)
Savoy (5)
Sheffield (5)
Stamford (31)
State (1)
Stockbridge (5)
Tyringham (1)
Washington (1)
West Stockbridge (1)
Williamstown (76)
Windsor (3)
Archives:
March 2019 (13)
February 2019 (13)
January 2019 (13)
December 2018 (13)
November 2018 (13)
October 2018 (11)
September 2018 (12)
August 2018 (12)
Tags:
Motor Vehicle Firearms Murder Robbery Search & Rescue Structure Fire Rape Police Investigation Search Break-ins Larceny Drug Charges Missing Persons Armed Robbery Injuries Shooting Hit & Run Accident Cocaine Assault Drugs Fraud Fire Pedestrians Veremko Homicide Motor Vehicle Accident Assaults Heroin Buglaries Crime Watch Fatal Mvi Stabbing Vehicle
Popular Entries:
Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead
North Adams Woman Killed in Route 2 Crash
Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg
Clarksburg Selectman Responds
North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home
Clarksburg Talks Burglary
North Adams Man Arraigned On Charges Of Animal Cruelty; Pleads Not Guilty
Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
Fatal Accident Closes Route 8 in Adams
North Adams Man Arraigned on Child Porn Charges
Recent Entries:
Reilly Pleads Guilty to Misleading Detectives In Ringer Murder Case
Two Arrested After Manhunt
Berkshire DA: Propane Tanks Used to Set Fire in Sheffield Murder-Suicide
Pittsfield Police Arrest Two For Violent Crimes
Six-year-old Twins Among Those Who Died In Pittsfield Fire
Authorities Investigating Lake Onota Village Fire That Killed Three
Southfield Fire Destroys One Building, Damages Second
New York Man Arraigned In Pittsfield Murder Case
Five Dead in Sheffield Structure Fire
Driver Escapes Injury When SUV Collides With Tractor-Trailer