The son of a Millbury plumbing company owner who was busted for running a large-scale marijuana operation with his father in 2017 pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Worcester to food stamp fraud, authorities said.
Thomas Laverty was convicted in January of drug money and laundering charges after law enforcement found a warehouse full of millions of dollars worth of cannabis. The 39-year-old Clinton resident was profiting off the operation with his father, Charles Laverty, while simultaneously receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.
The father and son were discovered to be growing $6 million in marijuana inside a Main Street, Clinton warehouse in 2017.
SNAP benefits, which are need-based, are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance. According to paperwork from the MDTA, Thomas Laverty misrepresented his income and living status to the agency, Lelling’s statement said.
“In October 2016, Laverty represented that no one in his household was working, and in April 2017 he certified that there were no changes to his household income,” Lelling said in the press release. “During this time, Laverty was receiving income from the family marijuana business.”
The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds and is expected to be sentenced on May 15, 2020, according to the press release.
Andrea Laverty, Charles Laverty’s wife, also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on drug and money laundering charges at a date to be determined, prosecutors said.
Charles and Thomas Laverty were each found guilty of conspiring to cultivate more than 100 marijuana plants, conspiracy to launder money and cultivating marijuana and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute during a federal trial earlier this year, according to prosecutors.
The elder Laverty, who was the owner of Chuck Laverty & Son Inc., died from cancer at age 63 in February. His conviction has since been vacated, according to the U.S. attorney.
“Thomas Laverty was charged with the food stamp fraud at the same time he was indicted on drug and money laundering offenses, although the fraud count was severed from the other charges prior to trial,” Lelling said in. his statement.
Between the drug conspiracy charge, the food stamp violation and the money laundering conviction, Laverty faces a sentence of ten years to life in prison, fines of nearly $8,750,000 and a term of supervised release also eight years to life, according to the statement.