Former Select Board member John George pleads guilty to obstruction charge

By Douglas McCulloch | Mar 12, 2018

Former Dartmouth Select Board member and farm owner John George, Jr. pleaded guilty in Boston federal court to a charge stemming from his concealment of more than $2 million from federal officials.

George, 71, pleaded guilty to a single obstruction of justice charge on March 12. The obstruction charge stems from his hiding of $2.5 million in cash from federal prosecutors after he was convicted of embezzlement and conspiracy in 2015.

In 2015, George was convicted for his role in embezzling thousands of dollars from the taxpayer-subsidized Southeastern Regional Bus Company. A company he owned, Union Street Bus Company, operated a contract for SRTA.

George paid bus company employees with funds from the contract to work on John George Farms on Slocum Road, which he also owned. He also inflated his yearly salary from $75,000 to $275,000 to boost his SRTA pension.

He was sentenced to 70 months in prison on those charges. As part of his sentencing requirements, he had to disclose his financial status to the court. Despite reporting $160,000 in bank accounts and $28,000 in cash, federal officials obtained warrants and began searching for unreported assets.

In searches carried out in December 2015 and January 2016, federal agents seized nearly $2.5 million in unreported assets, including cash, Rolex watches, and jewelry. They were stored in safe deposit boxes at numerous area banks.

George was charged in April 2017 with obstruction of justice as a result of the seizures.

Sentencing on the obstruction of justice charge is set for June 12. George could face a maximum of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

George served as state representative from 1989 to 1991. He resigned from the Select Board in 2015, after being found guilty of federal embezzlement charges.

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