How The IRS Terrorizes The Public With The Help Of The US Attorney

IMG_4034Did you ever hear the expression “going to hell in a handbag”? I’m not sure how it came about to describe something but that’s what thought occurred to me when I read this Boston Globe story.

I know, I know, it was to be expected that after the Globe did a Spotlight Series the US Attorney’s office in Boston, led by the Globe’s Bostonian of the Year, would be required to follow-up on the article. As much as the night follows the day, the feds follow the Globe.

The owner of the Boston Cab Company, Edward J. Tutunjian, was the subject of that Spotlight report in which the Globe put an undercover Globe employee in as a driver for the company. The Spotlight Team came up with the astounding information that the cab dispatchers were taking kickbacks of up to $20.00 from the cab drivers for giving some cab drivers preferential treatment. It inferred some of these dispatchers may not be paying taxes on this haul. Tutunjian was not connected to that scheme.

Worse, we learn that Tutunjian had started from scratch and by working hard in the cab business had made a lot of money and accumulated many cab medallions but he is sort of stingy guy when it came to paying his cab drivers. He tries to nickel and dime them at every opportunity. We’re told these drivers have a tough job as people coming to America unable to find other type of employment elsewhere.

Naïve as he is, Tutunjian responded to all the allegations. He should have known it would make no difference. The orders had been cut.

What the Spotlight Team gave us was pretty much the age-old story that has been repeated over and over again in America as wave after wave of new immigrants arrive and end up struggling to survive. In the past that was accepted as a part of life; now somehow it has turned into something that should not happen. The idea of having a mean boss who demands you work hard for your daily bread apparently is now somehow anti-American. Welcome to Fatland where everyone is supposed to start at the top.

Well to my way of thinking it was a lame series filled with the usual complaints of few guys who were lucky to have jobs thinking they were somehow not being treated properly. Of course, it was only a handful who had complaints, the rest went about their lousy job making the most out of the situation confident that they’d get screwed but perhaps their kids would have a better chance, which they will if they do what the generations of children who came before them did, which is to take the opportunity of the things that America offers, like free education.

So if what happened should have happened, the Spotlight series followed by the US Attorney getting involved, the Bostonian of the Year doing the bidding of the Globe, why am I writing about it?

It’s not to show the one hand washes the other relationship of the Globe with the U.S. Attorney’s office. It’s to talk about the raid that happened when the search warrant was being executed. If you don’t think the country is turning into some type of police state then explain this.

The search warrant I assume was to obtain the financial records of Boston Cab which is located at 72 Kilmarnock St, Boston, MA 02215 which is located about half way between Fenway Park and the Garner Museum (another story) squarely in the City of Boston. This is not a Mafia headquarters but a place from which taxi cabs emanate and otherwise hard-working guys or maybe gals go in and out intent on getting a day’s pay.

So how is the warrant executed. A Boston Globe video has an unidentified woman saying: “we’re here at this location with special agents from IRS criminal investigation, special agents from the Secret Service, special agents from Hud-OIG and officers from the Cambridge Police Department, Boston Police Department and Massachusetts State Police. . . .”  With that force I’m surprised the Back Bay wasn’t told to “Shelter In.”

My first reaction is what has this record search to do with Secret Service, Cambridge Police, the state police and HUD-OIG, whatever that is?  Secondly, why are all these cops involved just to pick up some financial records. What’s the threat? In my experience financial records usually go along without too much of a struggle.

But that isn’t the worst of it.

The IRS special agents arrived with guns drawn. They told the cabbies and workers to put their hands up (and not move?). They treated these people who presented no danger to them like Mafia gangsters.

Why are these IRS agents who are supposed to collect taxes armed in the first place, and next, why are they taking guns out and pointing them at and terrorizing civilians who present no threat to anyone? Believe me, it’s not  fun to be on the wrong side of a gun. This is police power out of control. What was the danger that required weapons to be drawn? Who is in charge of these people?

When asked what was going on the IRS spokesperson referred the matter to, well you might have guessed it, the Boston U.S. Attorney, Carmen Ortiz. She’s at it again with this unwarranted show of police power. It’s another case of POOF. Is this the type of America we want to live in where cops from six different departments raid a place with weapons drawn and put the people in fear because they want to seize some financial records? Six departments, four of whom have no skin in the game.

I’ve been part of investigations where we seized records working with the state police and others. We’d send in two detectives with the warrant who’d keep their weapons holstered. They’d tell the owner of the business we had warrants to search and seize his records and arrange with him to keep them undisturbed while we arranged to take them, sometimes using a civilian moving company.  We did this in a civil and respectful manner without traumatizing innocent employees.

I guess times have changed and this is the new America where we have so many cops they are tripping over each other looking for something to do and when given an assignment act like cowboys in Wild West shows twirling their six shooters. How any prosecutor could allow such an outrageous raid to take place is totally beyond my comprehension?

As I said when I wrote about the Caswell Motel case, it seems the cops are running the U.S Attorneys office in Boston. This means everything has been turned upside down. Lady Justice blushes with shame.


17 thoughts on “How The IRS Terrorizes The Public With The Help Of The US Attorney

  1. Matt, one final thought alone these lines. Yesterday i was down the North End—5:00 P.M. Mass at St. Leonard’s—and stopped by the memorial to Massachusetts Marines killed in Lebanon. Michael Devlin’s name is there. He is Paul Hutchinson’s first cousin. Then I thought of all our families, friends and friends’ families who’ve lost love ones to Muslim jihadists: Lebanon; 9-11 (400 from Boston area killed); wars overseas (more persons like our friend David Connolly, helicopter pilot, killed in Afghanistan); then 4-15 and the four dead and some 290 wounded and maimed from the Muslim jihadists; and then the serial killers under the FEDS’ wing and I ask, “I thought the Governments’ primary role was to protect the health and ensure the safety of we the people.”?

    1. Bill:

      The next time you go to the North End pick me up some of those Italian cookies. Christianity has been at war with the Muslims over 1,000 years. We test each other as time passes. Our running after Lebanon; or failure to respond to embassy bombings, and to kidnappings gave others the idea we were weak so we were attacked. We’ve fought back now for over a decade and it’s understood by most that we are not what they thought. The government by fighting back is ensuring our well being. The problem comes when it brings the tactics it learned in fighting back to the home front.

  2. Matt, I’ve also questioned who, if anyone, directed the mass murdering jihadists to take up boxing and work out at L-Street and at the Allston-Brighton gyms. My friend Mary told me they’d boxed at L-Street and apparently they eluded security and needed no ID because a glitch in procedures allowed anyone direct access to the boxing rooms. Horror of horrors if anyone in some Star Chamber was working with these murderous jihadist slime, who think they have some perverted right to target and kill children. It’s all the same since Osama Bin Laden thought he had the right to kill innocent women and children on 9-11 as payback for American war in his homelands; wars which his and his Muslim jihadist pals precipitated by their own evil hands. I go back to the sinking feeling I get when I see that Afghanistan, after America’s occupation,, increased its production of Opium ten-fold.

    1. Bill:

      You can’t change culture; it has to evolve. Those countries we fought in all we should have done is destroyed the enemy and left. We don’t have to build up countries who invade us or harbor those who do. What more can I say?

  3. Matt, I’ve come around to your way of thinking, in part. The IRS abuses power like Boston Feds. Stern,Wyshak and perhaps O”Sullivan took serial killers under their wings and, at best, negligently failed to supervise them, settling them free and adrift into the community. A more nefarious question is this: Did the serial killers, the TEI or early released crew with slaps on their wrists, act independently or with the acquiscence and perhaps the actual direction of the FEDS. I’ve often wondered why L-Street, where I worked out daily for 20 years, suddenly became infested with a half-dozen released killers who’d killed my friends and my friends’ friends. I’m not suggesting I was a target of the FEDS’ misfeasance or malfeasance; I’m suggesting the FEDS, once again, singled out and targetted one community: the SouthBostonDorchester community. Someone said, “Just because you’re paranoid, don’t think they’re not following you?” I”d like to know who ultimately called the play at the IRS to send the stormtroopers into a cab company and who ultimately called the play to send six or seven serial killers back into our community.

    1. Bill:

      Don’t get me wrong, most of the feds are good guy interested in what’s best for America. In the minds of the prosecutors in this case the ultimate evils were Whitey Bulger and John Connolly so they felt that anything that they did to get them was the right thing. I don’t attribute malicious motive to them. They just see things differently than others see them. When I prosecuted I had an idea how to do things; others likewise had their ideas. Some did things, and what I’m suggesting is nothing was illegal or unethical or in any way wrong, that I thought were overly harsh and others I sometimes felt gave away the store. The way we operated was each ADA made the decisions on her case and that was that. Analyzing a case in a half an hour or less that is not your own and that someone else has worked a long time on and expecting to dictate the outcome of that case wasn’t what we did. We hired people we though were good prosecutors and gave them their wings.

  4. From an economic perspective, and I’m just thinking on the fly here, the $20 payment for preferential treatment could be seen as an efficient bidding mechanism whereby dispatchers “sell” good jobs to willing buyers, and the buyers pay the $20 as a price or “premium” for the value of getting good jobs. I don’t know any of the details, but if all cab drivers are aware that there is a “market” for preferential treatment, then they would compete with each other until the “price”, that is, the “bribe”, reaches a point where the marginal cost of paying is equal to the marginal benefit of getting preferential treatment. Key assumption here (I think) is that value is created from the dispatcher end, in the sense that awarding preferential treatment somehow makes his job more efficient, perhaps by making easier his decision on who to give a job to. Of course, just putting drivers in line could work too. But then getting good jobs is a matter of luck. If you’re first in line and the first job is the best job of the day, you were lucky. But let’s say we have a market where drivers pay extra for better jobs. Then they can make the decision about whether the cost of the “premium” is worth the added value of a better job. This was the genius of Chicago economists decades ago in arguing that economics could make great contributions to the law.

    Now, I emphasize that I know nothing about this case other than what I just read. And I just thought on the fly, so there could be all sorts of discriminatory practices happening. Like only giving preferential treatment to certain drivers rather than giving all the chance to pay the $20.

    But just goes to show that maybe all we were witnessing is an efficiency-enhancing market innovation.

    1. Jon:

      Of course the guys who give the $20 or even the $5 have figured out whether it is worth it to them to get a jump on the other drivers when the keys are handed put by the dispatchers. It seems to me no one wanted to go over $20 because it probably wasn’t worth it. I don’t get the big problem with this since it is done in various forms in every aspect of life; should a restaurant be raided if the maitre d gives the best table to the persons who hand him a C note?

      From the point of view of the cab company it’s best to get the people who put money up front for a cab than others because they’ll be out hustling a lot more than others; and those who the dispatcher favors will complain less not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them. If the dispatcher was not taking money she’d probably be giving preferential treatment to her countrymen or co-religionists.

      I think what you are witnessing is humanity at work; the old dog eat dog battle for survival. Some think these a little league games where everyone should be declared a winner or no score is kept for fear one team might beat another. It really is not a criminal case at all except probably failing to file proper tax returns. It is as you point out all a matter of economics.

      1. “It really is not a criminal case at all except probably failing to file proper tax returns. It is as you point out all a matter of economics.”


        1. Jon:

          There may be a little tax evasion going on by the taxi dispatcher; I guess the response we saw of armed IRS troopers, HUD something or others, Secret Service force police (I guess the Secret Service which protects the president is in this because if everyone evaded taxes the president could not travel around like a king with an entourage what would make Louis XIV blush), The Boston, Cambridge and State Police (the latter three also concerned with people evading taxes since that’s where they get their money.)

          One aspect of the criminal law and its punishments is to serve as a deterrent. This is just the shot across the bow to all those people out there who don’t report their tips or under the table money. “We’re going to come at you hard with guns drawn.” I hope my barber reads this.

  5. Who put the bug in Prince Street the FBI or the State Police? In NY the FBI bugged Gotti’s headquarters at the Ravenite Club not the State Police. Even if the State and local police made some contribution to the take down of the Mafia in the eighties the prime mover was the FBI. Do they deserve all the credit maybe not but don’t slight what they did. They led the charge. Some are trying to rewrite history. Remember what Bill Parcels said ” You are what you are ” and your record shows that. The final score in the eighties for top Mafia types imprisoned was FBI 150 State Police zero. Plus they did a less than stellar job helping Naimovich.

  6. all law enforcement need to be tested on the essence of Judge Adlow’s book “Policemen and People”. Tutunkian is lucky they didn’t shot up the place. We are feeding an insidious machismo with all the over the top hero worshipping. Police have a job, they get paid for it, its a job they want. Most of us know that most of them are people just like us and are trying to do a difficult job.

    Why that show of force on Kilmarnock St. was seen as necessary is something that needs an analysis by a disinterested party

    Lucky there are no paperboys around anymore otherwise they would all have to worry about the revenoors putting them up against the wall at the end of a gun barrel and accounting for their tips.

    I knew we were in trouble when I saw federal officers in front of the Moakley Courthouse on guard in kevlar with M-16 at the ready in case the senior citizens club from the North End tried to spring Sal DiMasi.

    I wonder what Joe Moakley would think about these turns for the worse that we see in the country vis a vis personal freedom.

    1. Hopalong:

      Adlow had it right; we’re all entitled to go home after a day’s work to a little peace and quiet and the bottom line crime is to disrupt a person’s enjoyment of the same. The show of force at Kilmarnock Street was not necessary, a disinterested party has already declared that to be so.

      Yeah, I agree about the armed forces at the Court house; I expect on Tuesday they’ll have it surrounded by the new Homeland Security police with AD 47’s who’ll have their newly acquired Abrams tanks armed with machine guns and bomb sniffing dogs nipping the ankles of spectators. You got to be careful that Whitey’s way-over-the-hill-gang won’t reform and launch an attack with their walkers.

      Joe who was a very good man wouldn’t believe it.

  7. The combination of the press with law enforcement can be quite sinister. Innocents are framed and perfectly lawful activity is criminalized. This cab case along with the Probation and Cahill cases are just some of the examples. The movie ” Absence of Malice” explored this illicit arrangement. 2. If a sequester order is issued at the start of the WB trial will Carr and Cullen be excluded from the courtroom? Carr seems to think he won’t be a witness. Will the sequester order be challenged? Will there be a hearing on a motion to quash prior to trial? Will that ruling be appealed and will that delay the start of the trial? 3. What happened to the State Police after Lancaster Street? Did they go on vacation for fifteen years? They never caught any high level Mafia but complain about the FBI in the eighties that put the top 150 on the East Coast in prison. Guilliani in NY put the top thirty Mafia guys in jail using Henry Hill and Gravano. The same tactic employed in Boston. He also put the top financial thieves in jail ( Boesky, Milliken and Dennis Levine). Unlike the present Administration he didn’t adopt the TOO BIG to Jail notion. None of the big swindlers on Wall St. have been prosecuted recently.

    1. N:
      Here goes:
      1. As I said the Globe decides who the feds will prosecute – it has been a long time arrangement going back to the deal made during the bussing days.
      2. Sequestion orders affect everyone – Howie’s is wishfully thinking that he won’t be a witness. Whitey has insisted that he be called and tortured. Any appeal will not stay the order. When it gets to the Appeals Court – it’ll be interesting to see if that court is really in the tank also.
      3. The state police after Lancaster Street fell into an FBI trap. You have to understand how Lancaster Street was a great embarrassment to the FBI. It vowed it would never happen again. The only way it could do that was to invite some of the state police special investigative guys into a joint task force which the FBI controlled. As part of the agreement the FBI knew everything the state police was doing so that it could never be surprised again. Tom Foley in his book talks about how happy he felt to be part of the FBI and how as time went on he realized he was being used and undermine in everything he did.
      You miss the point when you say they had nothing to do with taking down the Mafia. They worked hand in hand with them but the FBI took all the credit. It was a state police operation at Heller’s that led to the Vinny Ferrarra group being taken down by the FBI. You’ll find also that the NY cops worked closely with the FBI but the FBI took the credit. It was state convictions of the bookies that gave the feds the juice to squeeze those bookies that resulted in the RICO charges against Flemmi and company. You have to understand the feds steal the state and local police work and claim all the glory for themselves.
      Of course the cases were prosecuted in federal court because the charges are more severe and the evidence is easier to get in but to suggest that the state or local cops had nothing to do with the take down of the Mafia and to give all the credit to the FBI seems to me a total misunderstanding of what happened.

  8. Referring to the country as “new America”is close – “Neo-America” might be more appropriate, however. (and Just when I stood up for some of ’em in an earlier comment).

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