Wednesday, September 14, 2005

GOP Official Resigns After Charges

BOSTON, Mass. - The vice chairman of the state Republican Party resigned after a federal sting led to money-laundering charges accusing him of offering to "cleanse" drug proceeds for a legal client.

Lawrence Novak, an attorney, was arrested at his home Tuesday after investigators said he allegedly offered to launder drug profits for Scott Holyoke. Novak resigned his party position on Tuesday after his release on bond.

Holyoke is awaiting trial on federal drug trafficking charges and agreed to be a cooperating witness against Novak for the FBI.

Novak allegedly offered to have Holyoke sign false affidavits in an attempt to gain a reduced sentence for Holyoke. Holyoke told Novak that he had more than $100,000 in cash in a safe deposit box, repeatedly telling Novak that the money was drug proceeds, according to an affidavit filed by Lauren Youngquist, an Internal Revenue Service agent.

Novak allegedly told Holyoke that he would take about $60,000 of the money as a legal fee and offered to "clean" or "cleanse" the remainder of the cash, the affidavit said. According to the arrest affidavit, after Novak made the offer to launder Holyoke's drug proceeds, the IRS and FBI introduced an undercover IRS special agent who posed as Holyoke's aunt.

Novak, 54, was taken into custody after allegedly depositing money in a Brockton bank, federal authorities said.

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