Boston Firefighter Acquitted of Fraud… Let the Blame Games Begin

The two week trial of Boston firefighter Albert Arroyo on Federal fraud charges ended yesterday in a not guilty verdict, shocking most who have been following the case.

The high profile trial was touted by the media as a slam dunk guilty verdict for a malingering firefighter faking a back injury while participating in strenuous activities such as weight-lifting and playing baseball. According to the media the evidence was overwhelming. So what happened? The blame games have begun….

Boston Herald.com columnist Peter Gelzinis was particularly vicious today in his attacks on the jury, calling them “dumbbells” and “dunces”. He was quoted last week as saying one of the biggest mistakes Arroyo has ever made was taking the stand in his own defense… that he essentially convicted himself…. ooops.

The jury took less than four hours to decide Arroyo’s fate. Perhaps part of the problem was the crime with which Arroyo was charged: mail fraud. It would seem – based on columns of Mr. Gelzinis and other Boston writers – that the facts would make for a strong case of straight forward fraud. Why go the mail fraud route? OK – so mail fraud makes it a Federal case – but why not just go with state court fraud charges. You know, plain old-fashioned fraud. Old-school fraud. Fraud fraud ….. vanilla fraud….. With mail fraud proving fraud is not enough – something as simple as a letter being hand delivered, or a factual dispute about who put the postage on the envelope could be enough to raise a reasonable doubt even in the face of overwhelming evidence of fraud.

Or Mr. Gelzinis could be right…..

More on the story.

 

PS… it might not be too late for the state to take that other route.

 

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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