Former Probation Commissioner and Former Treasury Chief of Staff Arraigned on Conspiracy Charges
John J. (Jack) O'Brien, age 54, of Quincy, former Commissioner of Probation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court on a charge of Conspiracy to use unlawful means to get his wife a job at the Lottery. In addition, O'Brien was arraigned on a charge of Bribery in connection with the 2005 fundraiser; Conspiracy to Commit Campaign Finance Violations; Campaign Finance Violations; and False Report by a Public Employee.
Scott S. Campbell, age 40, of Quincy, former Chief of Staff and Deputy Treasurer to former Treasurer Tim Cahill, was arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court on a charge of Conspiracy to get O'Brien's wife a job by unlawful means. Campbell was also arraigned on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Campaign Finance Violations; Campaign Finance Violations; and Disguised Campaign Contributions (3 Counts). The conspiracy and campaign finance violations allegedly occurred in 2005. The disguised campaign contributions allegedly occurred in 2010.
John O'Brien began his work for the Commonwealth as a Probation Officer in 1980 and was appointed Commissioner of Probation in 1998. Scott Campbell joined the Treasurer's office in 2003 as a Special Assistant to Treasurer Cahill and rose to the position of Deputy Treasurer and Chief of Staff during the Cahill administration.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Attorney General's Office that began in November 2010. Based on the investigation, it is alleged that in the spring of 2005, O'Brien inquired about a possible job for his wife at the State Lottery, an agency under the control of the Treasurer. O'Brien and Campbell, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, allegedly agreed that O'Brien would sponsor a fundraiser for the Treasurer's campaign Committee in return for O'Brien's wife receiving a job at the Lottery. The fundraiser on June 23, 2005 in Quincy raised $11,100 for The Cahill Committee. O'Brien's wife began work at the State Lottery as a Customer Service Representative in September 2005.
Investigators allege that O'Brien and Campbell, while state employees, directly or indirectly solicited or received campaign contributions for the Cahill Committee. It is illegal for non-elected state employees to directly or indirectly solicit or receive political campaign contributions.
The AG's Office also investigated Campbell's role in fundraising for the Tim Cahill for Governor campaign. Campbell left the Treasurer's Office in May 2010 to work full-time for the campaign. Campbell allegedly approached three individuals in September 2010 to write $500 checks to the campaign, in return for $500 in cash they received from Campbell. Each allegedly agreed and produced a check which was deposited in the campaign's account. Massachusetts' law prohibits knowingly depositing a donation in someone else's name while disguising the true origin of that contribution.
The false statement charge results from allegations that O'Brien, in the course of his official duties, knowingly made a false material written statement to the Administrative Office of the Trial Court (AOTC) regarding the appointment of an Assistant Chief Probation Officer in 2005. AOTC guidelines state that all appointments must be made solely on the basis of merit. Investigators allege that the hiring decision was, in fact, predetermined, while the statement by O'Brien certifies that he followed AOTC guidelines.
Indictments were returned by a Special Statewide Grand Jury in February, June and September and were announced last week. Both defendants pleaded not guilty this morning in Suffolk Superior Court and were released on personal recognizance. They are due back in court on November 2, for a pre-trial hearing. Clerk Magistrate Margaret Sanel presided over the arraignments.
The investigation related to these charges is active and ongoing. These charges are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Peter A. Mullin, Michael H. Pine and Sarah R. Bookbinder of Attorney General Coakley's Public Integrity Division. Financial Investigator Sallyann Nelligan and Massachusetts State Troopers assigned to the Attorney General's Office are assisting in this ongoing investigation.
In February 2011, AG Coakley announced the formation of the Public Integrity Division - the first division in the office focused exclusively on cases of public corruption and fraud. The Division is prosecuting numerous public integrity cases, including a case brought against an employee of an MBTA subcontractor in connection with an alleged scheme to illegally produce millions of dollars worth of MBTA monthly passes. Anyone with information relating to public corruption in state government, state agencies or Massachusetts cities or towns is urged to contact the AG's Office or the Massachusetts State Police.