The state Attorney General’s Office sent notice last Thursday morning to the Chelsea Retirement Board that it is in the midst of a criminal and civil investigation into the actions of the former Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) Executive Director Michael McLaughlin.
And the investigations might not end up only in that office.
“Based in part on Mr. McLaughlin’s public admission to submitting false statements to the Commonwealth in connection with his compensation, this Office is investigating whether Mr. McLaughlin may be subject to liability under the False Claims Act,” read the letter from First Assistant Attorney General Edward Bedrosian Jr. “In addition, this Office is conducting a parallel criminal investigation around these facts and circumstances. We are aware that other state and federal agencies are also reviewing the conduct of Mr. McLaughlin.”
That letter from Bedrosian was accompanied by the Civil Investigation Demand from Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Engel – who heads up the Office’s Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau.
That letter called for the Retirement Board to produce a laundry list of information – including all documents concerning McLaughlin and all communications concerning McLaughlin. The time period for the request was from Jan. 1, 2002 until now.
The Board had until Monday, Nov. 21st to produce all of the documents, though there was an allowance for more time.
It was not immediately certain if the Board had provided all of the information by Monday.
The notice even contained a list of 10 instructions that dictated all contingencies – including what would happen if documents were lost or missing.
“This Civil Investigative Demand is issued to the Chelsea Retirement Board pursuant to Massachusetts [state law] as part of an investigation by the Office of the Attorney General regarding methods, acts or practices that may violate the Massachusetts False Claims Act…relating to Michael McLaughlin’s appointment at the Chelsea Housing Authority and McLaughlin’s false claims or false statements related to his compensation and his potential pension,” read the letter.
It also relayed what will happen if the Board hinders the investigation or is unresponsive.
“Please note that under [state law] obstruction of this investigation, including the alteration or destruction of any responsive document after receipt of this [letter] is subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000,” read the letter.