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Fraud trial of ex-Massachusetts State Police Union president Dana Pullman and lobbyist Jane Lynch underway in Boston federal court

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The federal trial of the former president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts who an FBI official said ran the police union “like an old-school mob boss” began this week.

Dana Pullman, 61, was president of SPAM between 2012 and 2018 and is charged with running the organization funded by member dues as a personal piggybank — allegedly taking in more than $41,000 in kickbacks from a union lobbyist and directing union money for personal expenses, including wooing a romantic partner.

“As president of SPAM, we believe Pullman wielded the union like a criminal enterprise, running it like an old-school mob boss,” Joseph Bonavolonta, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, said in a press conference the morning of Aug. 21, 2019, the day Pullman was arrested at his Worcester home.

Jury selection began Monday and opening arguments came on Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in the Seaport in the trial of Pullman and Anne M. Lynch, 71, the founder and owner of Lynch Associates Inc., the lobbying firm employed by the union in various capacities from around 2008 to the end of 2018.

The pair are charged with conspiring with others during Pullman’s tenure, according to a 2019 Department of Justice release, “to defraud SPAM members and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of their right to honest services from Pullman through fraud and deceit.”

They’re also charged with several counts of various forms of fraud, charges of obstruction of justice and filing false tax returns.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in 2019, SPAM was paying Lynch Associates a $7,000 monthly retainer for its lobbying work and then tacking on an additional $2,500 a month for public relations work starting in 2016.

The scheme at the heart of the case is related to a “Days-off lost” grievance the union filed against the MSP in 2005 that, according to the affidavit, “stalled for several years” before finally resolving in a $22 million written settlement in 2014.

In the lead up, prosecutors allege, Pullman made gaining the settlement a top priority when he took control of the union in 2012 and leased additional office space adjacent to SPAM offices in the building at 11 Beacon St. to the tune of $30,000 a month, according to the testimony of Andy Daly, who served as treasurer under Pullman.

For Lynch Associates’ work on the issue, Pullman directed SPAM’s treasurer to pay a total of $350,000, prosecutors say.

This week, Daly said Pullman “became a different person for 30 seconds” when Daly suggested the union was being “fleeced” by the amount of money it was paying Lynch Associates.

“I had said that for a person who is already on retainer, I can’t believe we had arrived at this number,” he said, adding that Pullman reacted explosively: “He banged on the desk and said to quit breaking his (expletive) balls and just print the check,” Daly said on the witness stand.

In exchange for all this funding, prosecutors allege, Lynch paid Pullman kickbacks in the thousands of dollars, from $5,000 to $20,000, and sometimes hid the kickback scheme by making the payments out as a “consulting fee” to Pullman’s wife.

The allegations laid out by the affidavit, and that will continue being laid out by prosecutors over the next week starting Tuesday, are many, including allegations that the scheme defrauded two different companies.

Among the larger allegations is that during his tenure, Pullman “frequently embezzled and misused SPAM funds for his personal use” through actions like using the union debit card for meals, flowers, travel and gifts for a woman Pullman was in a romantic relationship with; getting reimbursements from the union unsupported by receipts; and encouraging others on the union’s executive board to falsify expenses, including getting their mileage up for needless reimbursement.

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 4: Anne Lynch outside the Moakley Federal Courthouse October 4, 2022 in BOSTON, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 4: Anne Lynch outside the Moakley Federal Courthouse October 4, 2022 in BOSTON, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Chris Christo/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

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