EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

February 1, 2013

No jail time for man who framed ex's lover for bank robbery

Anthony Drago left false information on Haverhill police tip line

HAVERHILL — A New Hampshire man who tried to frame his love rival for a Haverhill bank robbery has pleaded guilty to obstructing a police investigation in exchange for a sentence that includes no jail time and unsupervised probation for one year.

Anthony Drago, 47, 48 Theresa Ave., Salem, N.H. pleaded guilty Monday in Haverhill District Court and was sentenced to six months in the House of Correction, said a spokeswoman for the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

Drago’s sentence was suspended for one year, however, which means he won’t serve any actual jail time so long as he doesn’t break any more laws during his year-long unsupervised probationary period. The spokeswoman said Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo did not recommend jail time in the case.

At Drago’s December arraignment, prosecutors said he faced up to two and a half years in jail if convicted of the charge in district court and up to five years in state prison if convicted in superior court.

Haverhill police said Drago gave them bad information on the department’s tip line because he was angry that a woman he had a relationship with was living with her former boyfriend — the man Drago identified as the robber.

Police said Drago called the Haverhill Police Department’s tip line to falsely identify Joseph Jennings Jr., 43, of Plaistow, N.H. as the perpetrator of a Sovereign Bank robbery in December. Detectives said they were able to charge Drago after tracing the false tip to his cell phone.

Police said Drago left them a voice message stating the bank was robbed by Jennings. The tip said officers would find a black ski mask and knife used in the robbery at the Plaistow property where Jennings and his girlfriend live, police said. The tip said the items were in a garage on the property. Police said they eventually determined the information was not true, however.

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