News & Media

Attorney Sabrina Bonanno Defends Man Accused of Tracking Boston Couple’s Car

The Supreme Judicial Court has decided to weigh in on a case where a man has been accused of tracking two vehicles using a GPS device. The Commonwealth alleged in court documents that the man believed his significant other was having an affair and that is why he used the GPS devices.

After being charged with criminal harassment, the man’s attorney, Sabrina Bonanno (of Sweeney & Associates LLC) successfully argued in District Court that the charges should be dismissed. The Commonwealth appealed the dismissal and the Supreme Judicial Court has decide to weigh in on the issue of whether it is legal to track the whereabouts of another person using a GPS device in Massachusetts.

“My client is accused of doing what any private investigator would have done,” said Bonanno, the Quincy attorney representing the man. “It is not a violation of the law.” Bonanno defends against the suggestion that the actions, though admittedly disconcerting for the affected parties, are criminal under Massachusetts law.

The Supreme Judicial Court is likely to schedule oral argument for the fall of 2018 and will ultimately render a decision that could change how GPS tracking devices are used in Massachusetts by private citizens.

Woman Sentenced for Theft of More Than $.25 Million in Government Benefits

A Dorchester woman, represented by Attorney Richard Sweeney of Sweeney and Associates in Massachusetts, was sentenced to home confinement rather than 18-24 months imprisonment, which the sentencing guidelines recommended, after convicted of stealing more than a quarter-million dollars in government benefits to which she was not entitled.

The woman was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris to 18 months of home confinement, 10 hours per week of community service, and was ordered to pay $331,630 in restitution and a fine of $40,000. In July 2014, she pleaded guilty to stealing public money in the form of Social Security and Civil Service Retirement annuity payments paid out for the benefit of her mother.

Following the death of her mother, the woman was not herself entitled to the money yet continued to receive and spend the benefits for over 30 years. It was alleged she stole over $200,000 in Social Security benefits and $140,000 in Civil Service Retirement System annuity payments intended for her mother. Upon discovering the theft, the government reclaimed a portion of the funds from her bank account and she repaid the balance, $331,630, at her sentencing today.

This case was brought as part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. Attorney's Office in partnership with the Social Security Administration to investigate and prosecute the posthumous fraud of Social Security benefits. In many of these cases, family members, knowing they are not entitled to government benefits, continue to withdraw and spend the funds after a relative has died. This ongoing investigation has landed several defendants in federal prison for these crimes.

Man Sentenced to 5 Years' Probation for 2 Counts of Possession of Child Porn

A Weymouth man was sentenced to five years' probation in Norfolk Superior Court for two counts of Possession of Child Porn. The Weymouth native, represented by Attorney Richard Sweeney of Sweeney and Associates, pled guilty and was ordered to register with the Sex Offender Registry Board, wear an ankle monitor and serve five years of supervised probation. The District Attorney's Office had asked for up to five years imprisonment.

Motion to Suppress Allowed in Drug Case Alleging Sale Witnessed by Police

A Braintree man, represented by Attorney Richard Sweeney of Sweeney and Associates, was alleged to have purchased drugs from a home in Braintree. A Braintree detective witnessed what he testified to as a hand-to-hand sale of narcotics. The vehicle was stopped and drugs and money were recovered from the vehicle. The man was indicted on the drug charges and arraigned in Superior Court. After a full hearing in Norfolk Superior Court on the defendant's Motion To Suppress the search of the vehicle, the court ruled that the officer lacked probable cause to search the vehicle and the evidence was suppressed. As a direct result, the case was dismissed against the Braintree man for lack of evidence.

Recent News:

  • Richard J. Sweeney was named to the Governing Council of the Norfolk County Bar Association. This is Attorney Sweeney's second term on the Board of Governors.
  • Richard J. Sweeney was named Chairman of the Norfolk County Bar Association's District Court Bench Bar Committee. His duties included facilitating communication between District Court Judges and local attorneys, as well as setting up legal education seminars.
  • Attorney Richard Sweeney was nominated to serve on the Joint Bar Committee on Judicial Appointments for a three-year term.
  • Attorney Richard Sweeney was named President of the Norfolk County Bar Association for 2014.

Case Results:

  • A jury found an alleged Brockton gang member Not Guilty of a First Degree Murder charge after Attorney Richard Sweeney was able to locate a missing witness in New York City's Bronx neighborhood. Through this witness, they were able to prove that the client was not involved in the shooting. Police were able to find and convict the actual shooter in that murder.
  • Charges of Sexual Assault filed against a college student were dropped after Motion to Dismiss was allowed. The student was from out of town and attending a college in Boston.
  • Sweeney and Associates obtained a six-figure Motor Vehicle Accident settlement in a recent case. The insurance company initially offered zero but due to evidence brought forth by Sweeney and Associates an offer was dramatically increased with threat of trial.
  • Boston CEO found Not Guilty on Operating Under the Influence (OUI/DUI) charges. The case stemmed from a two-car accident with injuries. A jury found the defendant Not Guilty on all charges after trial.
  • A top executive with a large Boston firm was cleared after it was alleged he was responsible for the Theft or Embezzlement of over 1.3 Million Dollars by the New York parent company in a White Collar Crime case. Despite the parent company sending its President, CFO and attorneys from New York, attorney Richard Sweeney was able to prove that the problem was with the accounting system and not our client. The result was the dismissal of all charges against our client.
  • A top executive with a Boston firm was found Not Guilty of a Third Offense Operating Under the Influence (OUI/DUI) charge after police found him asleep at an intersection. Attorney Richard Sweeney was able to show at trial that the police could not prove our client had operated the motor vehicle before he was found asleep.
  • In a Civil Litigation case, Richard J. Sweeney represented a local construction company in a worker's compensation case where an insurance company filed suit ultimately alleging that the construction company owed approximately $277,000 in back premiums. The construction company alleged that it only owed $50,000. We countersued and the case settled on the trial date in favor of our client for $53,000.
  • A Northeastern University student was charged with Indecent Assault & Battery against a fellow student. After a lengthy discovery process, the charges were Dismissed in Roxbury District Court.
  • High school students from Canton and Westwood were arrested at a party for being Minors in Possession of Alcohol. Charges were Dismissed in Dedham District Court saving the students from a criminal record.
  • A construction worker was found Not Guilty of Drug Charges after police charged him with Distribution of Class B (Cocaine) and Possession of Heroin. Boston Police staked out a local lumber yard for weeks and then made numerous arrests. After a Motion To Suppress was allowed a judge found the defendant Not Guilty of all charges.

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