After a two-week trial and two days of deliberating, a Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted a Boston Fire Department district chief of stealing more than $46,000 from the city for personal expenses. Sentencing is scheduled for February 25th.
Edward Scigliano IV, 46, was found guilty of five counts of larceny over $250 and five counts of procurement fraud. The case was prosecuted by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. According to General Healey’s press release, the defendant utilized two criminal schemes between 2008 and 2011 to divert money owed to the City of Boston to himself. A company called Greenwood Emergency Vehicles, Inc., provided the city with firetrucks. The defendant was responsible for working with Greenwood to obtain necessary equipment for the department. At some point, the defendant directed Greenwood to issue checks for more than $32,000 to his personal credit accounts. This money represented balances that were owed to the city, but the defendant told Greenwood he was authorized to receive the money to compensate him for items he had already purchased for the fire department. In a separate scam, the defendant illegally obtained more than $17,000 of personal items from a company called Northeast Rescue Systems, Inc., under the guise of procuring fire fighting equipment for the department. The defendant ordered Northeast to buy items such as a large high definition television, a living room set, a gas grill, exercise equipment, and gift cards to home improvement stores for his personal use. The City of Boston paid for these items without realizing at the time the money was not being spent on firefighting equipment.
According to the Boston Globe, the defendant was indicted in 2014 and has been on unpaid leave from the department ever since. Before his indictment, the defendant was on paid administrative leave for two and a half years as he was being investigated. Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn, who was in court for parts of the defendant’s trial, told the Globe he will attempt to terminate the defendant under civil service rules if the defendant does not resign voluntarily. The defendant’s crimes occurred when the department was under the control of former Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser. Fraser testified on behalf of the Commonwealth at the defendant’s trial.
This is a sad ending to what appeared to be a very successful career. The Globe reported that the defendant joined the Boston Fire Department in 1996. He received regular promotions, first to lieutenant in 2002, then to captain in 2005, and finally to district chief in 2012. His salary averaged $162,000 annually between 2008 and 2014. In addition to facing the possibility of jail time, the defendant will also likely lose his lucrative job and will presumably have a problem finding employment in the future. Criminal defendants often focus only on the immediate consequences of a conviction (jail sentences and probationary periods). However, it’s the collateral consequences to a conviction that are sometimes worse than the judicial punishment. Convicted criminals face a whole host of problems, from difficulty getting another job, to driver’s license suspensions, to immigration consequences that are as burdensome as the punishment imposed by the judge.