BOSTON – The former Executive Director of the Chelsea Housing Authority was sentenced today for falsely reporting his salary in annual budgets required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.
Michael E. McLaughlin, 67, of Dracut, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 36 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release and a $4,000 fine. In February 2013, McLaughlin pleaded guilty to four counts of falsifying a record in a federal agency matter with intent to impede and obstruct that matter.
From 2008 through 2011, McLaughlin, who served since 2000 as the Executive Director of the Chelsea Housing Authority, falsified his salary figure in the annual fiscal year budgets of the Chelsea Housing Authority and submitted them electronically to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.
In 2008, McLaughlin falsely stated that his budgeted annual salary was $151,945, when his actual salary was at least $242,908 under his existing contract. McLaughlin made the same kind of concealment of his increasing salary in the ensuing three years. Specifically, in FY 2009 McLaughlin falsely reported that his budgeted annual salary was $156,503, when his actual salary was at least $267,199 under his existing contract and his total compensation was at least $292,902, as reflected in his 2008 W-2. Then in FY 2010, McLaughlin falsely reported that his budgeted annual salary was $160,415, when his actual salary was at least $275,215 under his existing contract and his total compensation was at least $324,896. In FY 2011 McLaughlin falsely reported that his budgeted annual salary was $160,415, when his actual salary was at least $283,471 under his existing contract and his total compensation was at least $324,896.
“The defendant’s false representations about his compensation represent a serious violation of the public trust,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “This office will aggressively investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute those in positions of authority who violate that public trust for personal financial gain. I would like to thank all of those who assisted in this investigation and prosecution, in particular HUD, the FBI, the Massachusetts Inspector General and the Massachusetts State Police.”
“The Inspector General’s Office for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development have placed a priority on investigating allegations of waste, fraud and abuse in HUD’s Public Housing Program,” said Special Agent in Charge Cary Rubenstein. “Today’s sentencing should serve as a warning to those willing to commit fraud involving HUD funded programs. We will devote the necessary investigative resources to bring you to justice and have you debarred from future participation in Federally Funded programs. We would also like to thank our law enforcement partners at the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office for their hard work and steadfast commitment to justice with regards to Mr. McLaughlin.”
U.S. Attorney Ortiz, SAC Rubenstein, and Jeffrey S. Sallet, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office and Massachusetts State Police also assisted in the investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Theodore Merritt of Ortiz’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Beagan from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.