Revere resident Charlie Lightbody said this week that a federal indictment handed down last Thursday alleging he and two other men tried to hoodwink investigators regarding the casino land deal in Everett is weak and based purely on speculation.
The 13-page indictment came down on Thursday afternoon after a Federal Grand Jury closed up deliberations on Oct. 1. The indictment came via evidence that had been unearthed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) last year when it investigated the land deal between FBT Everett and Wynn Resorts – specifically that Lightbody, 54, a convicted felon who could not participate in the casino process, had tried to remain in the land deal as a silent partner after officially exiting.
Also indicted in the alleged scheme were Dustin DeNunzio, 37, of Cambridge, and Anthony Gattinieri, 56, of Winchester. All are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aiding and abetting. A state Grand Jury also returned indictments of the three men on charges of impeding a gaming investigation, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.
Lightbody’s attorney, Tim Flaherty, said there was little new information in the indictment from last week that wasn’t hashed out publicly and resolved before the MGC last year.
“The indictment handed down by the U.S. Attorney’s office that charged my client Charlie Lightbody is not based on factual evidence,” Flaherty said this week. “All of that information was carefully reviewed by the Gaming Commission last year and was provided in a good-faith effort to cooperate with the investigation. The evidence in the indictment is based on speculation and suspicion and not fact. The evidence and facts clearly demonstrate Charlie Lightbody transferred all his interest in FBT prior to the execution of the Wynn option. Those facts were available and known to all parties at all relevant times.”
They pledged to fight the charges vigorously.
The indictment came just weeks after Wynn Resorts received the coveted Greater Boston casino license – which would be located on the land in question. Now, with the land tied up in a chaotic court battle over ownership in which organized crime is alluded to, some are questioning whether the Wynn project is also threatened.
MGC investigators did address the land deal recently during the license awarding hearings on Monday, Sept. 8. During that hearing, MGC investigators said the situation was resolved and they believed that Lightbody was out of the deal and that the land could change hands.
“These federal and state indictments send a loud message that the MGC will take every measure necessary to preserve the integrity of the gaming industry,” read a statement last week from the MGC. “As with every gaming applicant, the IEB conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the suitability of Wynn MA LLC. The IEB recently updated the Commission on the continuing suitability of Wynn MA LLC and all those who would be involved in their operations. That report reaffirmed that Wynn MA LLC is suitable in all respects and that the sellers of the land would have no involvement with operations.”
On Tuesday, the MGC revealed that its investigation bureau would be giving an update on the Region A casino licensing situation this Thursday. Though there were no specifics as to what that update included, it was assumed that the land deal indictments for the Wynn casino would be discussed in depth.
That said, the question remained for federal and state investigators about when Lightbody and another unnamed partner, likely Gary DiCicco of Lynnfield, got out of the land deal.
Most of the information in the indictment leans heavily on information uncovered by the MGC pertaining to ownership documents being postdated. In particular, a transfer of ownership from Lightbody to Gattinieri was signed in December 2012. However, after several interviews with investigators, DeNunzio allegedly said that he had postdated those documents.
He allegedly told them that the documents were signed in January 28, 2013 officially removing Lightbody and postdated to December14, 2012, and then later postdated once again to August 2012.
Other information included was the jailhouse conversation recorded in December 2012 between Lightbody and Winthrop’s Darin Bufalino – an alleged associate of organized crime who is now imprisoned. In that conversation, Lightbody is allegedly heard bragging about having the land deal “double blinded” and “triple blinded.”
All of that information had been shared previously and publicly.
Some new information in the indictment, though, included the details that Lightbody and DeNunzio had met at the Broadway Everett Dunkin’ Donuts in July 2013 to allegedly once again sign transfer documents postdated to August 15, 2012. Those documents showed that Gattinieri bought out Lightbody for $1.7 million.
That hurried transaction occurred because, allegedly, DeNunzio, Lightbody and Gattinieri had made false statements to the MGC investigators in early July 2013 about Lightbody’s ownership interest.
Finally, the indictment alleged that as late as Nov. 27, 2013, Gattinieri erased all of his e-mails from his Yahoo! e-mail account. However, six allegedly incriminating e-mails remained in his Spam folder – which were apparently recovered.
The matter will be taken up in Federal Court on Nov. 19 once again likely at an arraignment hearing.
Lightbody was being held without bail out of state, but was released Tuesday.
The conspiracy statute provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The wire fraud statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. On the accompanying state charges, all of the defendants face up to five years in jail.