State & Region Briefs

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Hedge fund manager pleads guilty in investment fraud

BOSTON — The owner of two investment advisory firms has pleaded guilty to defrauding his investors of millions of dollars to fund his own lavish lifestyle.

Federal prosecutors say 44-year-old Yasuna Murakami, of Cambridge, pleaded guilty Tuesday to wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing on April 8.

Murakami was a managing member of MC2 Capital Management LLC and MC2 Canada Capital Management LLC, investment advisory firms through which he established and managed three hedge funds.

Authorities say he diverted client money for personal use, including for a luxury sports car and international travel.

Murakami also used new investor contributions to make Ponzi-like payments to earlier investors, and falsified account statements and tax documentation in an effort to lull clients into believing their investments were safe.

Sen. Markey: Push to overturn ‘net neutrality’ decision

BOSTON — U.S. Sen. Edward Markey says 40 senators are co-sponsoring a bill designed to overturn what he called the “anti-consumer” regulations passed by the Federal Communications Commission to end “net neutrality.”

The Massachusetts Democrat said 30 members are needed to send the resolution to the Senate floor for a vote. A simple majority is needed to pass it.

The FCC repealed the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules in December, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds.

Of the 40 senators supporting the resolution, 38 are Democrats and two are independents. Markey will have to win over the remaining Democratic senators and a handful of Republicans to pass the measure.

Mentally ill inmates sue sheriff over solitary confinement

FALL RIVER — A lawsuit filed against officials at a county jail alleges that mentally ill inmates are often held in solitary confinement with little treatment, but the sheriff dismisses the accusations as lies from disgruntled inmates.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and other officials at the Bristol County Jail. It accuses jail officers of failing to assess inmates’ mental health history before segregating them from the rest of the population and failing to provide effective treatment.

Hodgson says state agencies and national accreditation organizations have regularly visited the jail and found that its policies meet standards. He says the lawsuit is riddled with inaccuracies and lies.

The plaintiffs are represented by the advocacy groups Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts and the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee.

Man who rammed 3 police vehicles gets prison time

SPRINGFIELD — A Springfield drug dealer who rammed three police vehicles with his pickup truck while trying to avoid arrest has been sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

Ivan Santiago, 54, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute and three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Police say they saw Santiago selling heroin last Jan. 12 and boxed in his vehicle with two unmarked police cruisers. Prosecutors say he put his truck in reverse and drove into one police vehicle, then went forward and hit another. He then drove into oncoming traffic where he hit a third police vehicle.

Police say they found hundreds of bags of heroin in his vehicle and apartment.

Former firefighter arraigned on child pornography charge

WOBURN — A former firefighter has been arraigned on a child pornography charge after investigators reported finding hundreds of images on his computer and cellphone.

Raymond Spellman pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Middlesex Superior Court. He was released without bail and ordered to undergo counseling and not to have any unsupervised contact with anyone under age 18. He was also ordered not to use social media.

The 44-year-old Spellman resigned from the Hudson Fire Department shortly after investigators searched his home in May. Prosecutors say more than 600 photos and videos were discovered on his devices.

From Associated Press