Massachusetts Inspector General Joint Investigation Results in the Department of Justice, Office of Carmen M. Ortiz, United States Attorney Obtaining Federal Charges of Wire Fraud Against a Westford Man Who Falsely Promised to Bribe Public Officials

August 14, 2012

BOSTON – A case investigated by the Inspector General’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Lowell Police Department has resulted in federal charges being filed against Thomas H. Byrne of Westford.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Corruption and Special Prosecution Unit is prosecuting the case, which involved a scheme to defraud a businessperson by claiming that he and his co-conspirator, a former state senator, were using the funds to bribe public officials.   

According to the press release issued by United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) had been leasing space in Lowell from the businessperson.  From early 2009 through May 11, 2010, Byrne and former state senator Bernard Joseph Tully falsely represented to the businessperson that they could maintain the Lowell RMV office in the businessperson’s office building, but needed money in order to make payments to certain elected officials in exchange for the official acts.  The businessperson made payments to Byrne and Tully in the form of cash and checks.  Byrne and Tully split the money and pocketed it for their own personal use.  Byrne and Tully did not make payments to any public officials.

Byrne faces up to 20 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.  Last year, Tully, 84, of Dracut, pleaded guilty to wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Patti B. Saris sentenced Tully to two years probation with four months of home confinement.  Tully served as the Lowell city manager from 1979 to 1987.  Prior to that, he was a state senator representing Lowell and other areas.

U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Massachusetts, Press Release