Plumber gets 12 years for marijuana-growing operation

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for helping to run a large-scale marijuana growing operation that used his family’s plumbing business as a front, federal prosecutors say.

In addition to his prison term, Thomas Laverty, 40, of Clinton, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years of probation and ordered to pay $3,100 in restitution, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston. He was convicted in January 2020 after a five-day trial of conspiracy to launder money, cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

He also later pleaded guilty to an additional charge of theft of government funds for accepting food stamp benefits even while earning about $5,000 per week through pot sales.

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Laverty and others used a plumbing business, Millbury-based Chuck Laverty & Son Inc., as a front for a large-scale, commercial marijuana cultivation and distribution operation, prosecutors said.

Laverty apologized in court. Laverty’s father, Charles Laverty, was also convicted but died of cancer shortly after the verdict and before sentencing. The conviction was later vacated.

His mother, Andrea Laverty, 63, previously pleaded guilty and faces sentencing Wednesday.