A former prominent defense attorney was sentenced today to 3 1/2 years in federal prison on money laundering charges in a case that the sentencing judge said brought "sadness" to the legal profession.
Bob George, whose mobbed-up and murderous clients read like a Who's Who of the Massachusetts underworld, apologized before the judge for the way he sounded on secretly recorded wiretaps – wiretaps that helped a jury convict him in June of money laundering.
"It may appear I am not remorseful… but I do feel sorrow," said George, who stopped short of admitting criminal wrongdoing.
The 3 1/2 year sentence was less than the five-year term asked for by the US Attorney's office and called for by sentencing guidelines. The judge said he took the more than 60 letters written on George's behalf into consideration, including some penned by his children and fellow attorneys.
US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said she's satisfied with the sentence.
"He was not a good man when he engaged with these other two individuals and conspired to launder drug proceeds. He was not a good man when he portrayed himself as a victim rather than quite frankly as an individual who made some poor choices," Ortiz said after the hearing.
George was convicted of helping launder $200,000 in what he thought was drug money. George thought he was getting a $20,000 cut.
The case also highlighted concerns over the government's use of criminals as informants. The government's key witness was a former client of George's, Ronald Dardinski, a career criminal and paid government informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Dardinski recorded numerous conversations with George that were played for the jury.
George's attorney believes the government set George up with the help of Dardinski.
"I don't think any reasonable can rebut the assertion that Mr. Dardinkski when he was released from prison had a plan and that plan was to somehow exact revenge on Mr. George," said attorney Robert Goldstein.
The government has already paid Dardinski tens of thousands of dollars and Dardinski's informant agreement calls for him to now make 10 percent of the money George is forced forfeit. The judge ordered George to give up $39,000 and his Lexus.
The US Attorney for Massachusetts defended the use of Dardinski.
"Why is it appropriate for Dardinski to continue to profit off of this case," asked FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet.
"I didn't say it was," Ortiz replied.
"Do you think it is?" Beaudet asked.
"To profit? In what way?" Ortiz asked.
"He's getting paid. He's been paid thousands of dollars. He stands to get more money," Beaudet said.
"I think that he's being paid for certain work that he's doing. He should get what he deserves and what he's entitled to based on his conduct," Ortiz replied.
As for Dardinski, he has declined to respond to requests from FOX Undercover for comment.
George remains a free man for now. He's scheduled to turn himself in in January. His attorney says he's now focused on appealing the conviction.