LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United S…

LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office (“FBI”), and Michael Yasofsky, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (“IRS”), announced that defendant William R. Boose, III, 62, of North Palm Beach, Florida, has been charged with failing to report, and helping to conceal, the public corruption scheme for which former Palm Beach County Commissioner Anthony Masilotti was recently sentenced. Defendant Boose faces a maximum period of three years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, in addition to $400,000 in criminal forfeitures.

Masilotti pled guilty on January 11, 2007 to misusing his elected position as a Commissioner on the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners to personally enrich himself in a series of land deals in Palm Beach, Martin and Brevard Counties, and through his financial relationship with a developer. He was sentenced earlier this month to five years’ in prison and has forfeited over $10 million in cash and property.

The Information filed today against defendant Boose concerns the Martin County transactions for which Masilotti pled guilty. The Information alleges that Boose became aware of Masilotti’s scheme, but rather than report the scheme to law enforcement, Boose took action to conceal it. Specifically, it is alleged that Boose created a land trust that would help the former county commissioner conceal his ownership in a 150-acre tract of land in Martin County which he was advocating for sale to the South Florida Water Management District at a price far in excess of that Masilotti had paid for it a short time earlier.

Boose allegedly further helped conceal the scheme by assisting Masilotti in avoiding the filing of a beneficial interest affidavit that was required by the Water Management District in advance of its December 2003 vote on the purchase. To avoid filing the affidavit and potentially exposing Masilotti’s interest, Boose allegedly helped Masilotti conduct a land swap with the other owners of the property being considered for purchase. The Information also alleges that Boose was aware that Masilotti had used his position to threaten to obstruct the purchase if the land swap was not consummated.

According to the Information, Boose provided this assistance to Masilotti for a nominal fee at a time when Boose had other matters pending before the Palm Beach County Commission. Neither Boose nor Masilotti disclosed that during this time Masilotti was casting public votes on various land use, zoning and bond awards sought by Boose on behalf of other clients.

“Far from a victimless crime, public corruption creates a contempt and cynicism for government that cannot be tangibly measured. It stains legions of honest public servants along with the dishonest few. A lawyer can never allow his license to be used as a cover for such conduct,” said Mr. Acosta. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal partners will continue to work tirelessly to root out corruption at all levels in the Southern District of Florida.”

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the IRS and FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Kastrenakes, Stephen Carlton, and Antonia Barnes.

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