For Immediate Release - June 26, 2009

Medford Man Pleads Guilty in Connection with His Role in a Charity Fraud Ring Defrauding Over 1,000 Donors to Disabled Veterans' and Retired Police Organizations

WOBURN - A Medford man pled guilty in Middlesex Superior Court yesterday in connection with his role in a charity fraud ring that used fraudulent telemarketing practices to deceive donors who gave to disabled veterans' and retired police charitable organizations and then converted those funds for their own personal use. Brandon Seeley, age 21, pled guilty to charges of Larceny over $250, Attempted Larceny, Conspiracy to Commit Larceny over $250, Gross Fraud and Deceptive Professional Solicitation Practices. Immediately after the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge Sandra Hamlin sentenced Seeley to serve two and a half years in the House of Correction, with the sentence suspended for five years.

One June 3, 2009, another co-defendant, George Borden, age 53, of Quincy, pled guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to similar charges and was sentenced.

Three other co-defendants have also been charged in connection with this case and their cases are still pending. Ronald Seeley, age 38, of Medford, William Lewis, age 57, of Brookline, NH, and Frank Cariello, age 70, of Boynton Beach, FL are charged as follows:

Ronald Seeley
Larceny over $250 (4 counts)
Attempted Larceny (2 counts)
Conspiracy to Commit Larceny over $250 (5 counts)
Conspiracy to Commit Forgery
Uttering (2 counts)
Gross Fraud
Deceptive Professional Solicitation Practices

William Lewis
Larceny by over $250 (2 counts)
Attempted Larceny (2 counts)
Conspiracy to Commit Larceny (2 counts)
Gross Fraud
Deceptive Professional Solicitation Practices

Frank Cariello
Larceny over $250 (2 counts)
Attempted Larceny
Conspiracy to Commit Larceny over $250 (2 counts)
Gross Fraud
Deceptive Professional Solicitation Practices

An investigation conducted by the Attorney General's Office began in August 2006 after the matter was referred by a veterans' charitable organization. In addition, the Attorney General's Non-Profit/Public Charities Division had also received multiple complaints. Investigators discovered that between August 2006 and January 2008, Brandon Seeley and other telemarketers from Ronald Seeley's professional fundraising organization, CMR Marketing, based in Medford, allegedly engaged in fraudulent fund-raising telemarketing schemes to raise money for two charities: Veteran's Charitable Foundation (VCF), of Boynton Beach, FL, and the Retired Boston Police Officers Association, a retired police officers organization. Much of the money given by donors never made it to the veterans and retired police officers it was intended to benefit. Authorities allege that, in total, over 1,000 donors were defrauded and well over $100,000 in donations were misappropriated.

Frank Cariello was the president of VCF. Authorities allege that Cariello paid various "expenses" from his VCF accounts, as well as taking large amounts of cash from those accounts for his own use. CMR solicited donations for VCF, picked up the checks that donors were instructed to tape to their doors, and deposited those checks directly into VCF's bank account. VCF would then wire transfer CMR's payment into CMR's bank account. Investigators discovered that while CMR was fundraising for VCF, Brandon Seeley, and allegedly his father Ronald Seeley and, allegedly, William Lewis, would make false statements to potential donors. Seeley and allegedly the other two men claimed that they were affiliated with the New England Paralyzed Veterans Association (NEPVA), that they were a volunteer organization or were themselves volunteers, that the money raised was exclusively for the benefit of Massachusetts veterans or for veterans in a particular town, and/or, that the money was used for particular purposes such as scholarships or phone cards. Authorities allege that the elder Seeley also stole some of the donations, and deposited the donor checks directly into his company's bank accounts.

Attorney General Martha Coakley recently also joined with federal regulators on preventing, and educating the public about, fraudulent charitable donations. More information about the Attorney General's effort can be found on the Office's website.

A Middlesex Grand Jury returned indictments against all five defendants on August 4, 2008. They were arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on September 3, 2008, where they pled not guilty. Brandon Seeley pled guilty to all charges in Middlesex Superior Court yesterday and was sentenced. The remaining defendants will appear in court at a later date.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Marc Jones, of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division. Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General's Office and Financial Investigator Jessie Julian conducted the investigation. The Massachusetts State Police Fusion Center also provided assistance with the investigation. NEPVA and RBPOA also cooperated fully in the course of the investigation.