A man whom prosecutors have described as a south coast crime boss has been sentenced to serve two years in federal prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States, tax evasion and failure to file taxes.
Former Westport resident Timothy L. Barreira, 49, who had since moved to Dartmouth, will be begin service his sentence on November 19. He had pleaded guilty to the charges against him on March 12.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro also ordered Mr. Barreira to pay $321,506 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and a $50,000 fine.
Still to be dealt with before his prison term starts is an appearance in New Bedford District Court to face animal cruelty charges linked to the 2011 death of a horse in a swamp at a farm in Westport.
The owner of over 15 properties in Westport, including business properties such as auto repair shops and Dunkin’ Donuts, Mr. Barreira has a considerable police history in Westport, Dartmouth and the surrounding area.
Had this federal case proceeded to trial the US Attorney’s Office said that the government’s evidence would have shown that between January 2003 and September 2005, Mr. Barreira and his long-time girlfriend engaged in a scheme to evade income taxes.
In 2007, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) disallowed Mr. Barreira’s taking of his daughter as a dependent on his 2005 and 2006 taxes. The IRS assessed Mr. Barreira an additional $6,000 in taxes and penalties, which he did not pay.
“Barreira then decided not to file federal tax returns or pay taxes. In fact, he did not file tax returns for more than 12 years, from 1997 until he was aware of the criminal investigation,” the US Attorney’s Office said.
At the time he failed to file taxes, prosecutors said Mr. Barreira had amassed a large number of real estate properties, owing several residential and commercial properties in the Westport area which he rented or otherwise financially benefited from. He collected rents from individuals and corporations, the most significant tbeing two Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.
Mr. Barreira also received income from partnership interests and capital gains from property sales. In the years identified in the conspiracy count, 2003-2005, Mr. Barreira made $264,000, $287,000 and $485,000 respectively in taxable income and did not file or pay taxes in those years.
Prosecutors said the scheme used five main methods to conceal income and assets from the IRS. Those included using cash extensively; cashing and negotiating third party checks, including rent checks, using the girlfriend’s name, bank accounts or an entity, Norwest Holdings Inc., for which she signed to pay his personal debts; filing false tax returns for Norwest Holdings indicating that it owned property which was actually owned by Mr. Barreira; and failing to file tax returns accurately reporting income earned from rental payments from tenants, partnerships, and capital gains from property sales.
Prosecutors said Mr. Berreira attempted to evade income taxes in the amount of $55,581 for 2004 by hiding his income. He did this by instructing renters to pay him in cash, making mortgage payment in cash, endorsing checks payable to himself to his girlfriend, and using her and Norwest Holdings to make checks made payable to himself.
Finally, the government said it would have shown that Mr. Barreira did not pay income taxes on income of more than $8,200 in 2005 and $8,750 in 2007 - or file income tax returns for those years.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Freniere of the Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.He faces several Westport charges on unrelated matters
Mr. Barreira is well-known to Westport police and town officials for incidents that date back a number of years.
These include the allegation of animal cruelty; another, for receiving stolen property (a check) was dismissed by the judge.
Detective Jeff Majewski said that Mr. Barreira was charged with animal cruelty, a felony, after a horse was found dead in a swamp, up to its neck in water.
Police were called to Driftway Farm (a property that police say Mr. Barreira controls) off American Legion Highway to investigate allegations of a horse being denied medical care. During that investigation they found the animal dead in a swamp. Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a necropsy but was unable to pinpoint a cause of death.
Assisting Westport Police in pursuing that case is the Animal Rescue League of Boston and a state veterinarian who is expected to testify when the case comes to trial.
The receiving stolen property charge was lodged after police say Mr. Barreira was found in possession of an American Express travelers check that had been taken during a Westport break-in. It was dismissed due to trail-of-evidence problems, Det. Majewski said.
Published reports also indicate that Mr. Barreira also has cases pending against him in both New Bedford and Fall River courts for charges including assault (a stabbing outside the former Stinky Pete’s bar in Dartmouth), and possession of stolen property.
When Barreira was charged in April of last year, federal prosecutors alleged in court documents that he is a violent leader of a criminal organization affiliated with members of the Sidewinders motorcycle gangs in New Bedford and Fall River and Hells Angels in Providence.
Barreira's defense attorney, Barry P. Wilson, denied the allegations and called it "a cheap shot" for federal prosecutors to include the information in his client's file, maintaining they are based on hearsay.