Tierney Opponent Makes Issue of Wife’s Guilty Plea

Posted October 6, 2010 at 4:04pm

Updated: 7:42 p.m.

Bill Hudak, the GOP challenger looking to unseat Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) next month, said Wednesday’s guilty plea by Tierney’s wife “raises a lot of questions” about the Congressman’s knowledge of his brother-in-law’s illegal offshore gambling operation.

Patrice Tierney pleaded guilty in U.S. district court in Boston to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns by her brother. She faces up to four years in prison and $400,000 in fines.

Tierney’s brother, Robert Eremian, is accused of funneling millions of dollars into an illegal offshore betting operation. She had agreed to manage his bank accounts while he was overseas and was apparently unaware of where the money was coming from.

Hudak said that in the wake of her plea, the Congressman should “fully disclose what he knew and when regarding the allegations against” his wife.

“The allegations of this long-standing at least eight-year relationship with an offshore Internet gambling operation and $7 million that went through the account certainly raises a lot of questions,” Hudak said in a phone interview with Roll Call.

Hudak also said the guilty plea “certainly calls into question” Rep. Tierney’s 2006 vote against legislation cracking down on Internet gambling. The Congressman’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Hudak’s statement.

Earlier Wednesday, Rep. Tierney defended his wife in a statement that maintained she was unaware that her brother’s financial activities were illegal.

“While devastated to learn that her brother might have deceived her and so many others, Patrice has acknowledged and agreed that she should have done more to personally investigate the true nature of Mr. Eremian’s business activities in the course of carrying out his requests in paying his children’s household expenses, family medical bills, and his personal bills and taxes from a checking account in which he deposited funds,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.

According to court documents, Patrice Tierney managed her brother’s Bank of America account, which was funded with “the proceeds of illegal gambling activities” associated with his Antigua-based business, Sports Off Shore. The financial records maintained by Tierney were used to prepare her brother’s tax returns.

From 2003 to 2009, more than $7 million in Sports Off Shore proceeds were deposited into the Bank of America account. She “engaged in a conscious course of deliberate ignorance regarding the true nature of” her brother’s income, according to a statement of the charges filed in federal court.

In a statement, Rep. Tierney said: “Just like when one buys a lottery ticket or goes to the race track, this should be a personal decision. My voting record is consistent on this issue. I along with 7 other members of the Massachusetts delegation voted against the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act.”