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Jewelry Manufacturing Supervisor Charged With Money Laundering in Rhode Island

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Jewelry Manufacturing Supervisor Charged With Money Laundering in Rhode Island


BOSTON – A manufacturing supervisor for a luxury jewelry company has been arrested and charged with money laundering in connection with alleged theft of gold, silver and platinum in Rhode Island.

Benjamin Preacher, 54, of North Attleboro, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Preacher was released on conditions following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on March 15.

Preacher is accused of using his position to steal precious metals from the company’s facility in Rhode Island and then sell the metals to businesses in Massachusetts. The name of the company was not released.

The thefts allegedly occurred over a period of more than three years.

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According to the charging documents, since 2018, Preacher worked fulltime in a supervisory position at a Rhode Island manufacturing facility operated by the company, which manufactures and sells luxury items, including jewelry made from gold, silver and platinum. It is alleged that Preacher used his position to steal precious metals from the company’s facility in Rhode Island and then sell the metals to various businesses in Massachusetts.

Specifically, from in or about March 2020 to March 2023, Preacher allegedly sold precious metals to a Canton-based metals dealer roughly one to two times per month – with sales to that dealer alone totaling more than $1 million. It is alleged that Preacher’s sales of stolen metals included $50,521 in 18-carat gold in March 2020; $21,821 in 18-carat gold, “Platinum scrap” and “Sterling” in April 2021; and $30,939 in platinum in January 2022.

It is further alleged that Preacher also sold more than $177,000 in stolen precious metals to a separate metals dealer in West Bridgewater between on or about May 16, 2023 and Nov. 16, 2023. This included gold sheets used by Preacher’s employer in a particular machine, which Preacher allegedly stole and sold, along with other gold scrap, for nearly $21,000.

Most recently, it is alleged that, approximately 30 minutes into his shift on March 1, 2024, Preacher was captured on company security cameras stealing a piece of white gold “flat stock,” measuring approximately an inch in diameter and approximately as thick as a quarter, valued at roughly $2,200.

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Precious metal in scrap form were located and seized during a search of Preacher’s home on March 14, 2024.

The charge of unlawful monetary transactions provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the laundered funds. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Harry Chavis, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Rhode Island

Rhode Island taxpayers gawk at the $132 million price tag of a new stadium

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Rhode Island taxpayers gawk at the $132 million price tag of a new stadium


Rhode Island taxpayers are feeling sticker shock as they may shell out over $130 million in debt payments for a soccer stadium in Pawtucket. One reporter noted it was similar to the amount the government of Pakistan is charged to borrow money.

Plus, the bids are in for major offshore wind projects that could bring energy and jobs to Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where New Bedford and Salem stand to gain big shares of the money pie.

And a surprise resignation by New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster has stirred fierce competition for the seat — including a top Biden aide with local roots.

It’s Under the Radar‘s Regional News Roundtable.

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Storm packing strong wind knocks out power to some in RI. Here’s what to expect today.

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Storm packing strong wind knocks out power to some in RI. Here’s what to expect today.



A fast-moving storm is bringing strong wind to Rhode Island, knocking out power for some, cancelling ferries and raising flood concerns

PROVIDENCE – A powerful storm bringing rain and strong wind to Rhode Island has knocked out power for some residents and forced the cancellation of ferries to Block Island.

The heaviest rain is likely later this morning and could include some thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service has posted a wind advisory, effective until 2 p.m., with south winds of 15 to 25 mph gusting up to 50 mph.

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“Gusty winds will blow around unsecured objects. Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result,” the advisory says.

As of about 7:35 p.m., some 1,200 Rhode Island Energy customers had lost power.

Check outages here.

With a gale warning for Rhode Island coastal waters and seas of 6 to 11 feet, the Block Island Ferry has canceled all trips.

A coastal flood advisory is in effect until 2 p.m.

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River flood watches are still in effect for the Pawtuxet River at Cranston and the Wood River at Hope Valley as well.

Conditions should begin improving this afternoon, the weather service says.



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Rhode Island Senate Passes Bill to Revise Rhode Island's Criminal Definitions – Newport Buzz

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Rhode Island Senate Passes Bill to Revise Rhode Island's Criminal Definitions – Newport Buzz


In a move aimed at reforming Rhode Island’s criminal justice system, legislation sponsored by Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) to revise the state’s definitions of felonies, misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors has been approved by the Senate.

The proposed bill, numbered 2024-S 2100, echoes similar legislation previously approved by the Senate during the 2021, 2022, and 2023 sessions. It seeks to address issues within the state’s legal framework by easing pressures on the correctional system, promoting diversion and rehabilitation, and enhancing public safety.

Senator Acosta emphasized the necessity of addressing systemic injustices that disproportionately affect residents of color or those with limited socio-economic status. He clarified that the bill aims to rectify an unintentional overlap between Federal immigration law and Rhode Island General Laws concerning misdemeanors. Concerns raised over the past three years primarily revolved around potential unintended consequences, with opponents suggesting the bill might shield perpetrators of serious crimes from severe immigration repercussions. Senator Acosta, however, asserted after extensive research that such concerns were unfounded. He stressed that updating outdated definitions would mitigate persistent judicial injustices, save taxpayer money, and alleviate pressures on the correctional system, ultimately leading to meaningful positive impacts on individuals striving to reintegrate into society.

The proposed legislation seeks to redefine felonies, misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors. A felony would be defined as any criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for over one year, while a misdemeanor would encompass offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding six months but not exceeding 364 days, or solely by a fine exceeding $1,000. Petty misdemeanors would cover offenses punishable by imprisonment not exceeding six months or solely by a fine between $500 and $1,000.

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Senator Acosta clarified that the redefinition of misdemeanors would specifically prevent non-deportation eligible offenses from escalating into aggravated felonies under immigration law. He emphasized that a 364-day suspended sentence would prevent a misdemeanor from becoming an aggravated felony. However, he underscored that certain crimes, such as domestic violence, remain deportable offenses regardless of the sentence. For instance, while a legal permanent resident receiving probation for domestic assault may still face deportation, a one-year suspended sentence for the same offense would escalate it to an aggravated felony, leaving no recourse for deportation relief.

The legislation will now proceed to the House for consideration, where Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) has introduced a companion bill numbered 2024-H 7527.

 

 

 


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