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OIG: Office of Inspector General
   Current Section

Investigative Reports

United States Department of Justice
Michael J. Sullivan
U.S. Attorney
District of Massachusetts
United States Attorney's Office
John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
Boston, MA 02210
Press Office: (617) 748-3139

October 29, 2004

PRESS RELEASE

CHARGES ADDED TO INDICTMENT IN BRIBERY SCHEME
RELATED TO THE ISSUANCE OF BOSTON HACKNEY LICENSES

Boston, MA. Additional charges were brought yesterday in Federal Court against a Dorchester woman, who was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with federal student loans and grants.

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan; Kenneth W. Kaiser, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New England; Joseph A. Galasso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; and Gary E. Mathison, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education, Boston Division, announced that sixteen new charges were added to a previously existing indictment charging NEGISTI MEDHANIE, age 52, of 97 Fuller Street, Dorchester, Massachusetts. Specifically, the new charges are: six counts of mail fraud, nine counts of wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy (in addition to charges previously filed).

The new counts of the indictment allege that MEDHANIE failed to disclose ownership of two taxi companies, a restaurant, and other financial resources, as well as income received from these businesses and other sources, on financial aid forms submitted in connection with her son's studies at Stanford University. MEDHANIE was charged in the original indictment in this case in May of 2003, along with two others, Pyotr Vaserman and Semyon Teperman.

The original indictment, that the new counts have been added to, charged the defendants with bribery, money laundering, mail fraud and bank fraud as part of a pattern of racketeering activity which they conducted within the Hackney Unit of the Boston Police Department where MEDHANIE was a civilian employee at the time. The indictment alleges that between approximately 1990 and 1999, Vaserman and Teperman were "bagmen" for MEDHANIE, receiving bribes on her behalf from a number of individuals in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000. It is alleged that in exchange for the bribery payments, MEDHANIE would issue taxi drivers' licenses to those individuals paying the bribes even though they either had not taken or could not pass the required hackney driver's examinations.

It is alleged that some of the bribe money paid to MEDHANIE was used to purchase two taxi medallions in the name of a "straw" owners; one of the "straws" was MEDHANIE's son.

If convicted on these new charges, MEDHANIE faces up to 20 years' imprisonment on each of the mail and wire fraud counts, and 5 years' imprisonment on the conspiracy count, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine, on each count of the indictment.

The charges against MEDHANIE's co-defendants, Pyotr Vaserman, age 43, of 85 Brainard Road, Allston, Massachusetts, and Semyon Teperman, age 56, of 121 Deborah Road, Newton, Massachusetts, are also still pending.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; and the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Education with assistance from the Boston Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Auerhahn and Cynthia Young in Sullivan's Organized Crime Strike Force and Appeals Units, respectively.

Press Contact: Samantha Martin, (617) 748-3139


 
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Last Modified: 03/03/2005