A disgraced former politician who was caught on camera stealing thousands of dollars from Middlesex County copy machines pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning after investigators uncovered his latest scheme to steal campaign funds.
A disgraced former politician who was caught on camera removing thousands of dollars from Middlesex County copy machines pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning after investigators uncovered his latest scheme to steal campaign funds.
Former Middlesex County Register of Probate John Buonomo, 57, of Newton, faces charged of two counts of larceny over $250, two counts of personal use of campaign funds and willfully misleading investigators in Middlesex Superior Court. He was released on personal recognizance after his Wednesday arraignment at Middlesex Superior Court.
State Attorney General Martha Coakley is prosecuting the high-profile campaign money scam case.
Last month, a grand jury indicted Buonomo — a former Somerville alderman who previously ran for Somerville mayor — for laundering $100,000 in campaign funds from December 2004 to July 2008 for “personal use,” which is not allowed under the law.
Investigators were tipped off to the scheme after officials at the Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance noticed Buonomo was using large amounts of campaign funds in years when he wasn’t on the ballot. Buonomo was allegedly spending campaign funds every year even though he held a relatively quiet office and was only up for election every six years.
Buonomo allegedly withdrew funds from his campaign fund for his personal use using two schemes between December 2004 and July 2008. First, Buonomo allegedly wrote himself checks, falsely stating he was reimbursing himself for postage he had bought with cash.
Prosecutors say Buonomo conspired with Somerville printer Marc Piro to launder campaign funds. Buonomo allegedly wrote checks to Piro Printing made out for $8,000 to $15,000 for work that was never completed. Then, Piro, 46, of Wilmington, would allegedly return the amount of the check to Buonomo in cash — minus a $500 cut for Piro.
Piro, the owner of Guy T. Piro Printing in Somerville, is expected to be arraigned at a later date. Piro faces charges of larceny over $250, personal use of campaign funds and willfully misleading investigators for allegedly helping Buonomo launder the campaign money.
During the course of their investigation, OCPF officials found that Buonomo allegedly submitted forged and altered bank records, forged and altered printing invoices and false written statements he had obtained from postal employees, according to prosecutors.
This isn’t the first time Buonomo has been accused of stealing money.
Buonomo was previously arrested Aug. 6 on charges that he stole thousands of dollars from copy and money machines inside his Cambridge office building. He resigned from his post as Register of Probate Sept. 7 and haspleaded not guilty to the charges at his fall arraignment.
Buonomo’s resignation last fall prompted a fight for his seat, which was won in a special election by Tara DeChristofaro, the current office holder.
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