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Former Lee Police Chief Sentenced To 27 Months

The federal courthouse in Springfield, Mass.
http://www.mad.uscourts.gov/springfield/springfield-home.htm
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The federal courthouse in Springfield, Mass.

After multiple court delays, the former police chief of Lee, Massachusetts has been sentenced to 27 months in prison, two years of probation and $4,000 in restitution for extortion, according to The Berkshire Eagle.In June 2015, Joseph Buffis was found guilty of coercing a Lee couple who ran an inn to donate $4,000 to a toy fund he oversaw in exchange for dropping prostitution charges they were facing. Attorney Lori Levinson spoke with WAMC after Buffis was convicted.

“He did not extort those people,” Levinson said. “He does not believe he extorted those people. He always believed that it was a voluntary donation. He did not agree to not go forward with the criminal charges only if they donated that money. They were two separate transactions in his mind.”

Buffis was acquitted of 10 other counts related to his handling of the toy fund, including money laundering and fraud. After Buffis was indicted, the town of Lee fired him in August 2013, claiming he used town funds to pay for his family’s cell phone plan.

Jim is WAMC’s Associate News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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