You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Campaign signature-collector charged with forgery

A signature-gatherer hired by the Democratic challenger to US Representative Katherine Clark is facing 16 counts of forgery and filing false nomination papers after he allegedly falsified more than 100 signatures, including that of the Revere city clerk, Suffolk County prosecutors said on Friday.

Joseph Curran, 25, of Revere will be arraigned on Aug. 25 in a magistrate session of Suffolk Superior Court, said a spokesman for District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

Continue reading below

Curran was working for candidate Sheldon Schwartz. “The candidate has been cooperative throughout the investigation and has not been charged,” said Jake Wark, the DA’s spokesman.

Reached Friday by telephone, Curran declined to comment.

Officials familiar with the investigation said that one of the signatures in particular tipped off Revere election officials that something may have been amiss with Schwartz’s nomination papers. The legitimate name and signature of the city clerk, Ashley E. Melnik, are in widespread use on official municipal literature, and widely recognizable.

Revere officials submitted complaints in June to Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office, which oversees elections, that Schwartz’s campaign had filed the fake signatures. Galvin’s office deemed the matter criminal and turned it over to Suffolk County investigators.

Wark said that 16 nomination papers, bearing varying numbers of names, were deemed fraudulent.

Schwartz said last month that he first learned of the investigation and possible fraud when the Globe called him, reiterating on Friday that he had “nothing to do with it.”

“I’m not sure why he did it, and I don’t know he could be so stupid as to put down the name of the town clerk,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz said he met Curran at a Panera Bread in Wilmington in April for an introductory meeting, where they discussed the campaign.

“He had a sandwich,” Schwartz said.

Afterward, he said, Curran “didn’t seem very organized.”

Schwartz said his Washington-based campaign strategists hired Curran and paid him $3,000 to collect signatures.

State law calls for a fine of up to $1,000 per count and a prison sentence of not more than one year for those found guilty of knowingly filing falsified nomination papers. Forgery draws a maximum of 10 years in state prison.

Schwartz, 68, a doctor from Lexington, is considered a heavy underdog against Clark, a fellow Democrat who was elected last year to fill the Fifth District seat vacated when Edward J. Markey was elected US senator to succeed John F. Kerry, who was named US secretary of state.

Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Jim.OSullivan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.