Prosecutors said she received $223,000 over the years from her brother — a figure the Tierneys have disputed.
In 2010 Patrice pleaded guilty to helping her brother file false tax returns, and admitted to being “willfully blind” to the illegal source of her brother’s millions. She served 30 days in prison, followed by two years of probation, including five months of home confinement.
Daniel Eremian was convicted of illegal gambling; Robert Eremian remains a fugitive from justice and is believed to be living in Antigua.
The issue for the congressman is whether he should have disclosed the income from his wife’s brother. Congressional rules say family gifts do not have to be disclosed, and the Tierneys have maintained the money was a gift, in gratitude for Patrice’s help in caring for her brother’s family and their mother.
Others have questioned whether the money should be regarded not as a gift, but as payment for handling her brother’s bank account. If that is the case, then the income should have been disclosed.
Since the allegations first surfaced in 2010, Tierney has been re-elected twice, once beating Boxford attorney and Republican conservative Bill Hudak, and again this past fall in a close race against former Republican state Sen. Richard Tisei.
Next year, Tierney is facing two challengers for the Democratic nomination, from former Marine and Salem resident Seth Moulton and from Middleton attorney Marisa DeFranco.
“While political opponents have spent millions of dollars to twist the facts and distort the truth for their own gain, I appreciate that the Ethics Committee has not prejudged the matter,” Tierney’s statement said. “I hope the committee will expedite its review, and I am confident it will find the allegations meritless, as they have no foundation in law or fact.”
Yesterday, the Massachusetts Republican Party chairwoman, Kirsten Hughes, also issued a statement: “John Tierney isn’t fooling anyone when he claims it is ethical for him to benefit from money sent by his fugitive brother-in-law. Tierney is not above the law, and it is our hope the Ethics Committee will see beyond his laughable excuses and hold the congressman accountable for his actions.”