Congressman's wife gets prison time for tax misconduct

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The wife of a U.S. Congressman will report to prison next month. Patrice Tierney, age 60, received a harsher than expected sentence for her participation in the filing of fraudulent tax returns.

Prosecutors asked for two years probation and 90 days of house arrest. The prosecution, the defense, and Tierney all were surprised when the judge sentenced her to 30 days in prison, plus two years of supervised release, which includes five months of house arrest, according to the Boston Herald.

Patrice is the wife of U.S. Congressman John F. Tierney of Massachusetts. In October, she pleaded guilty to charges that she managed an account – held at Bank of America in Massachusetts – for her fugitive brother, Robert Eremian.

The prosecution charged Tierney with aiding and abetting the filing of her brother's false tax returns. After keeping meticulous financial records related to Eremian's account, she is accused of giving her brother's tax preparer false information concerning the source of income in the account. Tierney reportedly told the tax preparer that the money in the account came from commissions Eremian earned as a computer consultant. Authorities believe the source of more than $7 million in the account was profits from illegal gambling.


Eremian and another sibling, Daniel, recently have been charged with racketeering, money laundering, operating an illegal gambling business, filing false tax returns, and other crimes. The gambling business is known as Sports Offshore, which was moved to Antigua in the late 1990s. However, the outlet includes a Web site and telephone line for U.S. customers to use. Eremian also is charged with sending agents to the United States to solicit business and to collect gambling debts.

"I take full responsibility for what my part in this was", Patrice told the court in October. She agreed to a plea bargain that included two years of probation and 90 days of house arrest.

But, U.S. District Judge William G. Young said he was not bound by those terms.

"I cannot excuse a violation of the law of this severity", Young told Tierney, rejecting her earlier plea deal with prosecutors. "You must obey the tax laws. There must be an actual sanction."

After previously refusing comment, Congressman Tierney told The Washington Post that his wife was betrayed by her brother. His wife, he said, believed that the income she managed for him came from selling and licensing software to legal Internet gambling businesses.

While she is under house arrest, Tierney will be able to leave the home only for religious services, to care for her mother, for work, and for medical appointments, reported The Boston Globe.

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