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January 23, 2013

Ex-Methuen town manager charged with falsely reporting housing authority pay

BOSTON - The former executive director of the Chelsea Housing Authority was charged today in federal court with falsely reporting his salary in annual budgets required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

Former Methuen Town Manager Michael E. McLaughlin, 67, of Dracut, was charged with four counts of falsifying a record in a federal agency matter with intent to impede and obstruct that matter. The information alleges that McLaughlin knowingly concealed, falsified, made false entries, and caused such concealment and false entries, in records and documents, namely, the annual fiscal year budgets of the Chelsea Housing Authority from 2008 to 2011, and submitted them electronically to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

The information alleges that McLaughlin falsely stated that his budgeted annual salary was $151,945, when he knew that his actual salary for Fiscal Year 2008 was at least $242,908 under his existing contract. It is further alleged that McLaughlin made the same kind of concealment of his rising salary in the ensuing three years. Specifically, in Fiscal Year 2009 McLaughlin falsely reported that his budgeted annual salary was $156,503, when he knew that his actual salary was at least $267,199 under his existing contract and his total compensation was at least $292,902, as reflected in his 2008 W-2.

Then in Fiscal Year 2010, McLaughlin falsely reported that his budgeted annual salary was $160,415, when he knew that his actual salary was at least $275,215 under his existing contract and his total compensation was at least $324,896, as reflected in his 2009 W-2. In Fiscal Year 2011 McLaughlin falsely reported that his budgeted annual salary was $160,415, when he knew that his actual salary was at least $283,471 under his existing contract and his total compensation was at least $324,896, as reflected in his 2009 W-2.

The maximum punishment under the statute is 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 on each count.

McLaughlin served as Methuen's town manager in the 1990s.

More on this story in tomorrow's The Eagle-Tribune.

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