Updated: 7:30 p.m.
Patrice Tierney, wife of Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), was sentenced Thursday to 30 days in jail for aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns.
U.S. District Judge William G. Young handed down the sentence and ordered Tierney to begin her jail time Feb. 28. Following the jail sentence, she will be on supervised release for two years, the first five months of which will be house arrest, according to the Boston Globe.
Tierney pleaded guilty in October in U.S. District Court in Boston to four counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns related to her fugitive brother, Robert Eremian. He is accused of operating an illegal offshore gambling business.
She apologized for her actions in a statement Thursday. “I take full responsibility for the decisions I made and accept the consequences of my actions,” she said. “I sincerely apologize for the mistakes I made while helping my family.”
She also distanced her husband from the case. “I hope my failure to see as clearly as I should have the nature of my brother’s ongoing business in no way taints the hard work and dedication John continues to provide to the people he represents,” she said. “During today’s hearing, Judge Young recognized and stated that my husband was not involved in any way, shape or form.”
Rep. John Tierney released a statement in October noting that Patrice Tierney thought her brother was involved in a legitimate business and that she was an unknowing accomplice in his illegal operations. The eight-term Congressman further underscored his support for his wife Thursday.
“Today I support and stand with my wife, Patrice. … “I know Patrice will continue to act with the strength and grace she has shown throughout this process,” he said in a statement.
The Tierneys both expressed disappointment with the judge’s decision, which they said was not in line with the U.S. attorney’s recommendation.
The judge had warned Patrice Tierney in October that he could impose a heavier sentence than the plea deal she struck with prosecutors. The plea deal called for two years of probation with 90 days of home detention, plus a $2,500 fine and $400 in court costs.
Young wanted to impose “actual jail time,” he said Thursday, adding that a 30-day sentence would be normal in such a case.
According to court documents, Tierney managed her brother’s Bank of America account, which was funded with “the proceeds of illegal gambling activities” associated with his Antigua-based business, Sports Off Shore. The financial records maintained by Tierney were used to prepare her brother’s tax returns.
From 2003 to 2009, more than $7 million in Sports Off Shore proceeds were deposited into the Bank of America account. She “engaged in a conscious course of deliberate ignorance regarding the true nature of” her brother’s income, according to a statement of the charges filed in federal court.