A Newton attorney, who has handled criminal cases in several counties including Middlesex, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a federal money laundering charge.
Federal officials seized $237,000 in drug-trafficking proceeds that had been posted as bail in various state courts after the money was allegedly laundered by defense attorney Lawrence M. Perlmutter.
Perlmutter, who was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1988, could not be reached for comment.
The indictment stems from allegations that Perlmutter and his co-conspirators laundered drug money by depositing over $1.7 million in cash, typically in small bills, into an Interest On Lawyer’s Trust Account (IOLTA), special type of account designed for attorneys to safeguard client funds.
The cash was proceeds of illegal drug trafficking, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Federal prosecutors allege that after depositing the cash into his IOLTA account, Perlmutter obtained a cashier’s check on the account and used the money to bail out defendants with pending drug cases in Massachusetts state courts.
As part of the investigation, federal agents identified seven cases in courts in Massachusetts in which a defendant was released on bail that had been posted by Perlmutter or his co-conspirators.
After obtaining warrants for each of these seven bails and working with prosecutors in Bristol, Essex, Massachusetts, Norfolk and Suffolk district attorneys’ offices, agents seized all seven bails totaling $237,000.
Cartoon By Edgar Argo