BOSTON (AP) - A brother-in-law of U.S. Rep. John Tierney blasted him on Thursday after being sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in an illegal offshore gambling business that led to charges against Tierney's wife.
The Salem News and the Boston Herald reported that Daniel Eremian said outside the federal court that Tierney is "a liar" and "knew everything."
A spokeswoman for Tierney said the comments were "bizarre, unsubstantiated and false" and a result of a family grudge.
The newspapers reported that Eremian said of Tierney, "He knew everything that was going on. He sat in the boxes with bookies at Fenway Park."
"Daniel Eremian spent the last several years telling anyone who would listen, including a federal judge and jury, that he was innocent of charges the government accused him of committing," said Tierney spokeswoman Kathryn Prael. "Now he is claiming both to be innocent and that John Tierney should have known that he was guilty. His claims lack both credibility and logic."
Patrice Tierney served a 30-day jail sentence last year after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns for another brother, Robert Eremian, a fugitive who has been indicted on illegal gambling and money laundering charges for running Sports Off Shore in Antigua.
Patrice Tierney testified that she and her husband, a Democrat from Massachusetts' 6th District who is facing a re-election challenger, did not know that Robert Eremian was running an illegal gambling operation. She said she was managing a bank account to help him care for his children.
John Tierney has said his wife was betrayed by her brother, believing his income came from selling or licensing software to legal Internet gambling businesses.
The two newspapers reported that Daniel Eremian believes his sister was forced to enter a plea agreement with federal prosecutors to save her husband's political career, and said that for Tierney "to throw my sister under the bus for his career was wrong."
"It shocks and saddens me to learn that my brother would say something so utterly false about me and my husband in a moment of desperation and anger," Patrice Tierney said in a statement. She said her husband "has been nothing but supportive."
"It is demeaning for my brother to infer that I am not intelligent enough, even with the counsel of a well-respected lawyer, to make my own decisions," she said.
John Tierney's GOP challenger, Richard Tisei, said Eremian's comments raise questions about Tierney's fitness to serve. Tierney has previously said Tisei was unfairly bringing his wife's case into the race. Tierney was re-elected in 2010 less than a month after his wife's guilty plea.
Eremian, of Boca Raton, Fla., and co-defendant Todd Lyons, of Beverly, were convicted in December of racketeering, conspiracy, operating an illegal gambling business and wire act offenses. Eremian was acquitted of dozens of money laundering charges.
Lyons was sentenced to four years.
Prosecutors have said the business employed about 50 gambling agents in the United States who had hundreds of customers. They said the business laundered more than $10 million in checks and wire transfers.
Eremian and Lyons were ordered to report to the courthouse on Friday to begin serving their sentences. Lyons and his attorney had previously declined to comment on the case.