Former Lawrence Supt. Sentenced
In Salem Superior Court this morning, Judge Richard Welch sentenced former Lawrence School Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy to two years in the House of Correction, 90 days to be served. Following his committed time, Laboy will be on probation for three years, one of which will be spent under house arrest. Laboy must also perform 600 hours of community service and pay restitution to the Lawrence Public Schools. That amount is still to be determined.
An Essex County jury found Laboy guilty on five of the eight counts of fraud and embezzlement that he was charged with and one count of possessing alcohol on school grounds yesterday afternoon following 3 hours of deliberations.
Essex Assistant District Attorney Maureen Wilson Leal proved that Laboy used public school resources for his personal use. Specifically, he directed school graphic designers to design and print jobs for the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, and for his son's Sal's Pizza shop in Methuen. He also directed school personnel to do personal errands for him using school vehicles on school time. She also proved that he had alcohol in his possession on school property.
In her sentencing argument, Wilson Leal stated that Laboy’s crimes were an “egregious misuse of public funds and resources” from a school district that could not afford it. “The students, teachers and staff of the Lawrence Public Schools deserved better than that,” she said.
Wilson Leal had asked for 2 years in the House of Correction committed, $1,000 fine on each of the fraud and embezzlement counts, 1000 hours of community service and restitution to be determined.
Laboy was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury on March 9, 2010 as a result of a lengthy investigation by the Essex District Attorney’s Office, the Lawrence Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police and the Office of the State Auditor. The trial, which lasted 8 days, included testimony from 14 witnesses and 115 exhibits that included over 1,000 pages.
“Citizens rightfully expect that the people elected or appointed to serve them and who are charged with managing public resources will do so with integrity,” District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett said. “In this case, Dr. Laboy used public resources for his own purposes and without regard for the difficult financial situation that the Lawrence Public Schools faced.”
Blodgett commended the work of ADA Wilson Leal and the entire trial team. “This type of case is time and labor intensive. Assistant District Attorneys, police officers and computer forensic specialists have spent countless hours reviewing documents to prove this case and win this conviction.”
Wilson Leal was assisted by Essex Assistant District Attorneys Philip Mallard and Thomas Donovan. Wilson Leal praised the work of Lawrence Police Detectives Maurice Aguiler and Jeff Sapienza, Massachusetts State Police Detective Norman Zuk and Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Brian Gavioli.