SALEM — The wife of Congressman John Tierney is scheduled to plead guilty today to federal tax charges arising from her brother's illegal offshore gambling business, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Patrice Tierney, 59, of Salem, has been charged with four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false federal tax returns, according to documents that were unsealed in federal court yesterday.
Prosecutors say the congressman's wife managed a bank account from 2003 to 2009 with more than $7 million in money from illegal gambling activity by her brother, Robert Eremian, in Antigua. They allege she mischaracterized the deposits as "commissions" and her brother's job as "computer consultant" in documents submitted to Eremian's tax preparer.
She faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, and a fine of up to $100,000 on each of the false tax return counts.
The charges come less than a month before John Tierney will face Republican Bill Hudak on Election Day for the 6th District congressional seat that Tierney has held since 1997.
Tierney released a statement saying that his wife accepts full responsibility for being "willfully blind" to her brother's action. He said she acknowledges that she "should have done more to personally investigate the true nature of Mr. Eremian's business activities. ..."
Tierney said his wife believed her brother when he told her eight years ago that he was leaving the country to pursue a career in selling or licensing software to a legal Internet gaming business. He said Patrice agreed to care for their ailing mother and serve as a "de facto" second mother to her brother's three teenage children.
"She now realizes that the trust she formerly had in her brother was misplaced and she should have more aggressively questioned Mr. Eremian when he asked her to pay his personal (and) some family obligations and tax payments from an account he funded," Tierney said in the statement.