Operation Dollar Bill

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U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente has said that prosecutors in his office refer to Operation Dollar Bill simply as "the State House investigation."

Operation Dollar Bill is the codename of an undercover investigation by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation into corruption within the state of Rhode Island.

History[edit]

The investigation stemmed from allegations that first emerged in 2003 regarding Rhode Island State Senator John Celona had accepted money and gifts from CVS, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, and Roger Williams Hospital.[1] In June 2005, United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente filed charges against Celona claiming that he defrauded the state's citizens by accepting money and gifts from the aforementioned companies, which had interests in legislation Celona considered as Chairman of the Senate Corporations Committee. Celona had agreed to cooperate with investigators before the charges were filed.[2]

The investigation[edit]

While Celona's cooperation with authorities has led to a number of investigations into corruption in Rhode Island, the greatest implication of the affair has been Operation Dollar Bill. After Celona's conviction, it was announced that the U.S. Attorney's office was pursuing 14 "active investigations" of seven politicians and seven corporations for corruptions schemes similar to that of the Celona case.[3] The investigation, which involves the FBI, Rhode Island State Police, Internal Revenue Service, and United States Department of Labor, has been described as a case even more significant than Operation Plunder Dome, which resulted in the conviction of sitting Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci. The Providence Journal has written that the investigation has involved a number of major figured in Rhode Island state government, as well as several municipal governments and companies located within Rhode Island.[4]

While there have yet to be any convictions related to Operation Dollar Bill, there were several cases related to the Celona affair that may have implications later in the investigation. These include the case of former Roger Williams Hospital president Robert A. Urciuoli and vice president Frances P. Driscoll, who were co-defendants in the case against Celona and were both convicted on various charges related to the hospital's payments to Celona.Frances Driscoll has since been acquitted of all charges against her regarding this case.[5] Additionally, CVS executives Carlos Ortiz and John R. Kramer were indicted in January 2007 for allegedly bribing Celona.[6]

Entities tied to the investigation[edit]

No criminal charges have been filed related to Operation Dollar Bill. However, several entities have been tied to the investigation, including:

  • Former Rhode Island Senate president Joseph A. Montalbano
  • Former Senate Finance chairman Stephen D. Alves
  • Senator and New England Laborers' administrator Dominick J. Ruggerio
  • Former Rhode Island Senate President William V. Irons
  • Former State Senator and Rhode Island Blue Cross & Blue Shield vice president Thomas Lynch
  • State House banking lobbyist William Farrell
  • West Warwick, Rhode Island
  • Lincoln, Rhode Island
  • CVS Corporation
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
  • Roger Williams Hospital
  • The Laborers' Union

These are the entities that the FBI's investigation has included, and not necessarily the 14 entities that are being "actively investigated."[7]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Katherine Gregg, "R.I. to probe legislators who work as consultants," The Providence Journal, December 24, 2003.[1]
  2. ^ "U.S. Attorney brings fraud charges against Celona," The Providence Journal, June 27, 2005.[2]
  3. ^ Mike Stanton, "Trio sentenced to jail," The Providence Journal, February 1, 2007. [3]
  4. ^ Stanton, "Operation Dollar Bill," The Providence Journal, February 4, 2007.[4]
  5. ^ Stanton, "Trio sentenced to jail," The Providence Journal, February 1, 2007. [5]
  6. ^ Stanton, "2 CVS officials charged with conspiracy, bribery," The Providence Journal, January 19, 2007.[6]
  7. ^ Stanton, "Operation Dollar Bill," The Providence Journal, February 4, 2007.[7]

External links[edit]