Hotshot Boston Attorney Set Up By Two Government Moles

Remember that old saying that a lawyer with a briefcase can steal more money than a Mafioso with a pistol -- and not get arrested for it? Well, a lawyer with a briefcase allegedly added drug-money laundering to his job description -- and did get arrested.
"Cadillac Frank," one of
George's clients.

This well-known Boston defense lawyer was arrested on Wednesday, "a day after a top Justice Department official pledged to target attorneys, accountants and bankers who help criminal organizations fund their activities," reported Joe Palazzolo in a Wall Street Journal blog called Corruption Currents: Commentary and news about money laundering, bribery, terrorism finance and sanctions.

The lawyer, Robert A. George, has represented Francis P. “Cadillac Frank’’ Salemme, former boss of the Patriarca crime family who turned informant, and Christopher M. McCowen, the trash collector who was convicted of the rape and murder of Cape Cod fashion writer Christa Worthington. He was sentenced to life in prison.

George is accused of helping a former client launder $200,000 and of structuring deposits for another client to avoid bank reporting requirements.

The rub is that the "former" client was working with the government -- and the client in the structuring deal was an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer from the Dominican Republic. So Georgie got it at both ends.

He was arrested at his home this morning and appeared in US District Court in Boston this afternoon, pleading "not guilty" to all charges; he was expected to be released on $50,000 unsecured bond.

George will be represented by Boston attorney Rosemary C. Scapicchio and Brockton attorney Kevin J. Reddington, it was disclosed in court today, according to

Scapicchio denounced federal officials for investigating George and complained that when federal law enforcement officials, including prosecutors, are found to have violated the law or ethical rules, little or no punishment results, reported. Is he serious?

“In this case, they are investigating a criminal defense attorney who is out there protecting people’s rights,’’ she said ... “This is outrageous.’’

In a statement, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz denounced George: “Defense counsel play a critical role in the criminal justice system, protecting important constitutional rights upon which we all depend ... but when an attorney assists in the criminal concealment and laundering of drug money -- as is alleged in this case -- it impedes the administration of justice and is an affront to all ethical and law-abiding members of the bar.'' Take that, George! That is one harshly worded sentence.

Jennifer Shasky, chief of the department’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, told a group of bank compliance professionals on Tuesday that prosecuting lawyers and other so-called gatekeepers was “a top priority” of her unit, which handles cases nationwide, according to the WSJ blog.

George was formally charged with money laundering, money laundering conspiracy and structuring. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, the Justice Department said.