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Plea deal in case connected to prominent Boston lawyer

A Dover man pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston yesterday for his role in a scheme to launder drug money that allegedly involved a prominent criminal defense lawyer.

Michael F. Hansen, 48, pleaded guilty to charges that he failed to report a total of $200,000 he received in transactions that authorities say were meant to hide purported illegal drug revenue.

Robert A. George, a Boston lawyer whose clients have included reputed mobsters and a man convicted in a grisly murder of writer Christa Worthington on Cape Cod, is accused of arranging for Hansen to help launder the money and faces federal charges in connection with the case. The federal sting operation was targeting George.

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Robert Goldstein, a lawyer for George, declined to comment on Hansen’s plea agreement yesterday. A lawyer for Hansen did not return messages seeking comment.

A spokeswoman for US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz declined to comment on Hansen’s plea and would not say whether prosecutors plan to call him as a witness in George’s case, if it proceeds to trial.

Hansen’s sentencing is scheduled for April 10. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.

However, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a prison term and fine at the low end of federal guidelines, according to the plea agreement, as well as two years of supervised release. Hansen has agreed to not appeal any prison sentence of two years of less, the plea agreement states.

While the agreement does not explicitly mention the accusations against George, it states that prosecutors can rescind their sentencing recommendations if Hansen “gives false or misleading testimony in any proceeding related to the criminal conduct charged in this case.’’

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According to court documents, one of George’s former clients, Ronald Dardinski, told federal agents that the lawyer offered to launder money for him when the two crossed paths in February 2009.

Authorities allege that Dardinski, working secretly with the Drug Enforcement Agency, later asked George to help him launder drug proceeds, and the lawyer arranged for him to deliver the money to Hansen, the former owner of the Dedham-based company East Coast Mortgage, which he dissolved in 2010.

Court records indicate that Hansen accepted $100,000 payments in December 2009 and April 2010 and that Hansen later gave Dardinski an $80,000 check after each delivery.

George has argued in court filings that he refused to get involved in a money laundering transaction with Dardinski, a career criminal. George contends Dardinski called him several times before their first encounter.

Dardinski secretly recorded some conversations with George. The attorney contends Dardinski was selective in his recordings.

George has also argued that he is being targeted in a vindictive prosecution for representing a client several years ago who allegedly proposed killing a federal prosecutor.

George’s trial on charges including money laundering is scheduled to begin in May.


Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.