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Mass. Lawmaker Who Was Focus of Nationwide Search Is Indicted

January 14, 1992

BOSTON (AP) _ Indictments were returned Monday against a state representative who was the focus of a nationwide manhunt when he fled Massachusetts after leaving a note acknowledging financial improprieties.

Timothy O’Leary, who returned to the state 13 days after he fled on Oct. 31, was charged with 18 counts of perjury and stealing money from legal clients and campaign accounts.

O’Leary, 46, was accused of taking more than $115,000 and spending it on car and home loans, heating bills, landscaping, department store purchases and other uses.

One of his lawyers said he’d plead innocent Tuesday ″for procedural purposes only.″

″He has previously accepted full responsibility for the poor judgment he exercised in meeting his financial responsibilities to his family,″ Jerry Benezra said. But he said he believes the $115,000 estimate may be too high.

When he fled, O’Leary left a note threatening suicide and acknowledging some financial irregularities. His family and police mounted a nationwide manhunt, while investigators began scrutinizing records at his Statehouse and law offices.

Middlesex District Attorney Tom Reilly said investigators found a ″pattern of abuse of the public trust that goes back over three years, including the intentional filing of false reports to cover up these acts.″

O’Leary, a three-term Democrat, resigned as vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee after returning to Massachusetts. He didn’t return telephone calls to his office and home on Monday.

Perjury, the most serious charge O’Leary faces, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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