The judge cited cases that have held that a forfeiture of property is punitive, in addition to whatever other penalties are imposed in a case.
PERAC argued that Bettencourt did not “own” his pension until it was paid out. Nestor rejected that argument, saying that the pension is something an employee knows that he is earning during his employment and that it can be taken only under certain circumstances.
Bettencourt’s lawyer, Paul Hynes, could not be reached for comment before last night’s Salem News deadline.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.