FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents arrested Dana Pullman, the former head of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, and Anne Lynch, the union's lobbyist, at their homes.
Kristina O'Connell, who heads the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division in Boston, said Pullman treated the union account like his own "personal piggy bank."
Authorities say he charged at least $75,000 on the organization's debit card, including on extravagant meals in New York City and Boston, a Miami getaway and flowers and gifts. He put $21,371 down on a 2017 Chevrolet Suburban, according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities say the 57-year-old Worcester resident also received thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from Lynch, a 68-year-old Hull resident, for steering lobbying work to her, and that the two were involved with others in a scheme to defraud at least two companies seeking to do business with the state.
Pullman's lawyer, Martin Weinberg, said his client strongly denies the charges and "never acted in a manner that compromised his loyalty to his union."
Lynch's lawyer, Scott Lopez, says his client intends to vigorously fight the allegations.
Lynch Associates, the lobbying firm Anne Lynch founded, said in a statement she hasn't had ownership interest in the firm since 2016 and that she'd served only a "limited number" of clients until 2018. The firm declined to comment further.
Pullman and Lynch made their initial appearance in Boston federal court Wednesday.
Neither was required to enter a plea. Each was released on $25,000 bond. They both agreed to surrender their passports and restrict their travel to New England.
They face wire fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges and are expected to be back in court next month.
State Police and the labor union said they're cooperating with the federal probe.
The union, which represents more than 1,500 rank-and-file officers, has also replaced all its professional services providers and instituted new accounting, auditing and oversight procedures.
"As an organization, we are appalled and angered, by the nature and extent of these allegations," Mark Lynch, the current union president, said in a statement.
Pullman served for six years as union president and resigned last September, citing personal reasons. He retired weeks later after working for three decades for the state police.
Wednesday's arrests are the latest blemish for the troubled state police.
Pullman, as the union's leader, had been a vocal defender of the dozens of current and former troopers charged in an overtime scheme that's shaken the department in recent years.
Troopers assigned largely to patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike were found to have been falsifying time sheets and writing phony tickets to collect overtime pay.
Some 46 troopers have been implicated, at least eight have pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges and the trooper division has been disbanded.
"I think events like the overtime scandal, events like this, are bad for morale," U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling remarked Wednesday. "That organization needs to turn a corner."
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