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 The donation was made payable to the Edward J. Laliberte Toy Fund, which Buffis had control over, and then withdrawn and deposited into Buffis' bank account.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


News Headlines
White Scores 16 to Lead Team to Adams PAL Playoff Win
Williamstown Zoning Board OKs Police Station Plan
Adams Selectmen See Preliminary Budget for Fiscal 2019
Lanesborough Elementary Class Size Leads to Broader Funding Discussion
Williams' Softball Team Rallies to Top Chicago in Extra Innings
Pittsfield's Lakeway Drive Bridge Set for 2020 Replacement
Northern Berkshire Youth Baseball Assigns New Players to Teams
VA Hosting Agent Orange Town Hall in Pittsfield
Gabriel Abbott Announces Second Trimester Honor Roll
North Adams Awarded State Grant for Eagle St. Business Development

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
Lee Barracks 413-243-0600
Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263


Adams (66)
Alford (0)
Becket (6)
Cheshire (20)
Clarksburg (39)
Dalton (5)
Egremont (2)
Florida (7)
Great Barrington (23)
Hancock (5)
Hinsdale (3)
Lanesborough (25)
Lee (14)
Lenox (11)
Monterey (0)
Mount Washington (0)
New Ashford (5)
New Marlborough (1)
North Adams (203)
Otis (2)
Peru (2)
Pittsfield (242)
Pownal (13)
Readsboro (14)
Richmond (7)
Sandisfield (5)
Savoy (5)
Sheffield (2)
Stamford (30)
State (1)
Stockbridge (5)
Tyringham (1)
Washington (1)
West Stockbridge (1)
Williamstown (72)
Windsor (3)
March 2018 (6)
February 2018 (9)
January 2018 (18)
December 2017 (11)
November 2017 (12)
October 2017 (13)
September 2017 (16)
August 2017 (13)
July 2017 (2)
Missing Persons Shooting Fraud Search Accident Stabbing Pedestrians Robbery Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries Rape Drugs Murder Mvi Larceny Cocaine Buglaries Break-ins Heroin Structure Fire Firearms Fatal Crime Watch Drug Charges Assault Veremko Fire Police Investigation Motor Vehicle Vehicle Assaults Police Armed Robbery Hit & Run Homicide
Popular Entries:
North Adams Woman Killed in Route 2 Crash
Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead
North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home
Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg
Clarksburg Selectman Responds
Clarksburg Talks Burglary
North Adams Man Arraigned on Child Porn Charges
Fatal Accident Closes Route 8 in Adams
Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
Drug Ring King Sentenced to Cedar Junction
Recent Entries:
Superior Court Briefs: March 5 - March 14
Woman Found Not Guilty in Williamstown Hit-and-Run
Pellet Stove Sparks Fire at Readsboro Inn
Fire Guts Burke Avenue Home In Pittsfield
Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 23
Missing Clarksburg Woman's Body Found in Hatfield
Superior Court Briefs: Feb. 20 - Feb. 22
Adams Businessman Arraigned in Pedestrian Death
Pittsfield Police Seeking Information on Gas Station Robbery
Adams Pedestrian Killed in Hit-and-Run