RMV Manager From Braintree Charged by U.S. Attorney With Extortion
The feds allege that a Braintree man and Tyngsboro man sold motor vehicle safety inspection licenses.
A 51-year-old Braintree man who is a Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle project manager faces up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines after the U.S. Attorney in Boston charged him and another man with extorting service station owners seeking safety inspection licenses.
Mark C. LaFrance and and Simon Abou Raad, 50, of Tyngsboro, were charged with conspiracy to extort money under color of official right in exchange for an official license to conduct Massachusetts motor vehicle safety inspections, according to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.
LaFrance was arrested Monday after the charges were unsealed. He has oversight responsibilities for the entire motor vehicle inspection program in Massachusetts, according to the release.
Both men allegedly discussed with service station owners the cost of buying their machines and licenses and how much they could sell them for. An FBI investigation that included intercepted communications led officials to learn that the men worked out details to make the transactions appear legitimate to the RMV system.
"In Massachusetts, applications to obtain a license to conduct motor vehicle safety inspections are intended to be granted on a first-come, first-served basis with consideration given to geographic location and license class," according to the statement, announced Monday by Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division.
"Class A light duty inspection licenses and equipment are said to come available on occasion and cost approximately $2,800. It is alleged that a number of individuals have received inspection licenses immediately without regard to geographic location or community by paying up to $75,000 to Abou Raad who distributes the proceeds from the scheme to LaFrance and others."
The maximum sentence under the extortion statute is 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years supervised release.