Bribes, Kickbacks & Caviar: FBI Says Ex-State Police Union Chief Misused Funds

Former police union president Dana Pullman is accused of spending the organization's funds on personal trips, extravagant meals and flowers

What to Know

  • Former state police union president Dana Pullman and State House lobbyist Anne Lynch were arrested Wednesday, the FBI and IRS said.
  • Pullman is accused of using a union debit card to spend thousands of dollars on flowers, travel expenses and extravagant meals.
  • The suspects allegedly tried to manipulate financial documents to conceal their actions after learning they were under investigation.

A former state police union chief and a Beacon Hill lobbyist have been arrested for allegedly misusing union funds for personal gain, federal authorities said Wednesday.

FBI and IRS agents arrested 57-year-old Dana Pullman, former president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, and 68-year-old State House lobbyist Anne Lynch early Wednesday at their respective homes in Worcester and Hull.

Both are facing charges of wire fraud, honest services wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

"Entrusted with representing the interests of Massachusetts State Police troopers and sergeants, Pullman, with Lynch’s help, betrayed that trust to line his own pockets with association funds," U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said.

According to court documents, investigators from the FBI and IRS began investigating the State Police Association of Massachusetts and Pullman around July 2018, and by October of that year were investigating the union and Pullman's relationship with Lynch and her lobbying firm. The investigation included the review of documents, emails, records and interviews with multiple witnesses.

The FBI said its investigation revealed that from at least 2012 and continuing until Pullman's resignation as union president in September 2018, Pullman, Lynch and others "were involved in a scheme and a conspiracy to defraud the union membership through fraud and deceit, including Pullman's receipt of illegal bribes and kickbacks from Lynch and the lobbying firm." The investigation also found that Pullman, Lynch and others were involved in a scheme and a conspiracy to defraud two companies seeking to do business with the state of money and property.

The defendants were arraigned in Boston federal court Wednesday afternoon, where they were released on bail. Afterward, Pullman's lawyer said that Pullman denies all allegations in the criminal complaint.

The State Police Association of Massachusetts is "appalled and angered, by the nature and extent of these allegations," current President Mark S. Lynch said in a statement. "Our current members are honest, hardworking, and dedicated to public service."

In a statement, the Massachusetts State Police said Pullman's alleged conduct "represents serious offenses and violates the ideals and values" of the agency. The department has cooperated with the Lelling's office, the statement added.  

While serving as union president, the FBI said Pullman "frequently embezzled and misused" union funds for his own personal use through a union debit card, frequent union expense reimbursement checks and by circumventing the role of the union's governing board.

"As president of SPAM, we believe Pullman wielded a union like a criminal enterprise, running it like an old school mob boss to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the union," said Joseph Bonavolonta, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Boston office. 

He allegedly used the union credit card to pay for meals, flowers, travel and gifts for an individual he was having a romantic relationship with, including $4,400 in flowers and gifts and $8,000 in personal meals in the Boston area.

Pullman also allegedly spent $468 -- including $150 on caviar alone -- on a lunch at Marea, a Michelin Star restaurant in New York City, that he falsely claimed was a National Trooper Coalition meeting.

Other expenses charged to the union included a $3,000 trip to Miami, including a stay at the Palms Hotel, $2,000 in iTunes charges, $40,000 in expense reimbursement checks and the lease of a 2017 Chevrolet Suburban valued at $75,760.

"Their actions were without a doubt disgraceful, underhanded and fueled by sheer greed," Bonavolonta said.

The former union president allegedly intimidated those who questioned him, according to Kristina O'Connell, IRS Special Agent in Charge in Boston. 

Pullman, who joined state police as a trooper in 1987, retired last September after six years as union president, citing personal reasons. His arrest was not related to the overtime abuse scandal that has shaken the state police. According to state records, he receives an annual pension of about $63,000. He risks losing that pension if convicted of a crime related to his job with state police.

Lynch founded her lobbying firm in 2001 and was its principal owner until her retirement in October of 2016. She sold the business to two family members, but continued to work for the lobbying firm as a paid consultant, including performing work for the state police union.

Once aware of the investigation, both Pullman and Lynch attempted to manipulate financial records, according to Lelling. Lynch allegedly lied to federal authorities during an interview with them.

Lelling said the investigation is still ongoing and could result in additional arrests. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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