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Former State Police union boss Dana Pullman and former lobbyist Anne Lynch face trial for alleged kickback schemes

Opening statements in the sweeping racketeering and fraud case against Dana Pullman could begin Monday.

Former Massachusetts State Police union president Dana Pullman left the Moakley Federal Courthouse after a hearing in 2019. He is set to go to trial on Monday.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

As the leader of the powerful Massachusetts State Police union, Dana Pullman was a fierce advocate for troopers and a harsh critic of management, often demanding “accountability at the top.”

Now, Pullman will be defending himself as his long-awaited trial gets underway in US District Court on charges that he took kickbacks totaling $41,250 from a union lobbyist and diverted thousands of dollars from the union for personal expenses, including flowers, gifts, a Florida vacation, and meals at upscale restaurants with a girlfriend.

Jury selection is expected to conclude Monday, followed by opening statements, in the sweeping racketeering and fraud case against Pullman, 61, who retired from the force following his indictment three years ago, and Anne M. Lynch, 71, founder and former owner of the lobbying firm, Lynch Associates Inc.

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They are charged with conspiring between 2012 and 2018 — the years Pullman served as president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts — with people employed by or associated with the union “to conduct an enterprise engaged in a pattern of racketeering” to enrich themselves through fraud and deceit.

They also face charges of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and filing false tax returns.

Their lawyers declined to comment for this article but have vehemently denied the allegations in court filings.

Chris Keohan, a spokesman for SPAM, which represents about 1,900 troopers and sergeants, said the union “was a victim of what [Pullman] did and we hope the public will realize that as the case goes on.”

Pullman joined the force in 1987, became union treasurer in 2008, and president four years later. He retired in November 2018, weeks after resigning as union president amid the probe by the FBI, IRS, and US attorney’s office into alleged financial wrongdoing.

When announcing the charges in August 2019, federal authorities accused Pullman of running the union “like an old-school mob boss” and tapping the union’s account as if it was “his own personal piggy bank.”

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The federal racketeering law — the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — was enacted by Congress in 1970 to crack down on the Mafia and other organized crime groups. But it has also been used to prosecute people accused of corrupting legitimate organizations, like police departments, churches, and opioid manufacturers.

“I think the cases are harder for the government when the racketeering enterprise is not a traditional organized crime syndicate,” said attorney Zachary Hafer, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at Cooley, adding that the government must lay the foundation necessary to show jurors that defendants have turned “an otherwise law-abiding association” into a racketeering enterprise.

“I think the government will have to establish that this wasn’t the occasional small bribe or kickback, but it really was central to the core of how the defendant ran the State Police association,” Hafer said.

The indictment alleges four different schemes in which Pullman used his role as union boss to steer business or money to Lynch, in addition to the $7,000 monthly retainer fee her company was paid by the union to lobby on its behalf. In exchange, she allegedly paid him kickbacks, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 and sometimes disguised as a “consulting fee” to Pullman’s wife or a commission paid to Pullman.

Pullman is also accused of using his SPAM debit card, linked to the union’s bank account, to purchase $9,300 in flowers and gifts for family and friends, including some $4,400 that was spent on one woman, his girlfriend. He’s also accused of using the union card to pay more than $8,000 for personal meals, unrelated to union business, with his girlfriend and relatives.

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In 2017, Pullman used his SPAM debit card to pay $3,600 “for a personal getaway” with his girlfriend to Miami Beach, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege that Pullman received more than $40,000 in expense reimbursement checks from the union, yet submitted expense receipts for less than $9,000 of those. In 2017, Pullman and the union treasurer leased a 2017 Chevrolet Suburban, valued at more than $75,000, in Pullman’s name, with a $21,000 down payment from the union — without approval or knowledge of the union’s executive board, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors also allege that Pullman received a $20,000 kickback from Lynch in 2014 that was related to a $22 million settlement by the state to pay troopers for working on scheduled days off. As part of the settlement, the state paid $350,000 to the union for expenses related to the case. Pullman told the union treasurer to issue a $250,000 check to Lynch’s firm for its work on the settlement, even though the union had already paid the firm $100,000, according to court filings.

The treasurer later told federal authorities that when he complained that the union was “getting screwed,” Pullman pounded on a table and said, “Stop breaking my [expletive] balls and give me the check!” according to court filings. After the check was sent to Lynch, prosecutors allege she funneled $20,000 to Pullman by disguising it as a consulting fee to his wife, who had never done any consulting work for Lynch. Pullman omitted the payment as income on his 2014 joint personal tax return, according to prosecutors.

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The charges were brought in August 2019, as the state’s largest police force was already reeling from multiple scandals. More than 40 troopers were accused of overtime fraud for collecting pay for hours they didn’t work. And in an unrelated matter, four top State Police officials resigned after being accused of ordering a trooper to remove embarrassing information from a report describing the arrest of a judge’s daughter.

“I don’t think the rank and file officers are happy about the fact their union leader was indicted for racketeering,” said Dennis Galvin, a retired State Police major who heads the Massachusetts Association for Law Enforcement, an independent police advocacy group. “It contributes to the sense the law is being undermined even by those who are supposed to enforce it.”


Shelley Murphy can be reached at shelley.murphy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shelleymurph.