‘Big Dig’ Chief Faces Tax Evasion Charges

BOSTON – The former Massachusetts secretary of transportation was charged today with filing false tax returns.

James J. Kerasiotes, 60, of Wrentham, was charged in an information with filing false personal income tax returns for the years 2010 and 2011.

The information alleges that Kerasiotes was a self-employed consultant providing strategy and business origination services to clients in the transportation and construction industries.  For the calendar years 2010 and 2011, Kerasiotes filed Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, with the IRS reflecting only a portion of the income he earned from his consulting business during those years.  By underreporting his total business income for 2010 and 2011, Kerasiotes evaded the payment of income taxes to the IRS.

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $100,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

James J. Kerasiotes was the director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority and the project manager of the Big Dig in Boston during the 1990s. He was asked to resign by  Governor Paul Celucci on April 11, 2000, because of cost overruns. He also served as secretary of transportation in the cabinet of Governor William Weld and Celluci from 1992 to 1998.

Before entering state government, Kerasiotes was publisher of NewsWest, a suburban newspaper in eastern Massachusetts, and later a director of Tab Communications, a chain of weekly newspapers west of Boston. He also was involved in the creation of the monster board.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; William P. Offord, special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation in Boston; and Cheryl Garcia, special agent in charge of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, New York Regional Office, made the announcement.  The case is being prosecuted by Kristina E. Barclay of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.