A former inspector for the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABC) pleaded guilty last week to extortion charges and received jail time for using his position of authority to extort money from an Everett business under his jurisdiction.
Arthur Hitchman, 41, of Melrose, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Jan. 11th, in Middlesex Superior Court to charges of Attempted Extortion, Soliciting and Accepting a Corrupt Gift to Influence an Official Act, Solicitation to Commit the Receiving of Stolen Property, and Improper Storage of a Firearm (two counts).
Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman sentenced the defendant to two and one half years in the House of Correction on the attempted extortion charge and two years probation from and after on the additional charges.
The Everett Independent reports that according to authorities, the defendant contacted an individual who wanted to open a restaurant in Everett. Hitchman, who had knowledge of the prospective business owner’s prior criminal conviction, indicated that because of that history the man might not be approved to receive a liquor license. However, Hitchman told the prospective business owner that he could secure approval for him if the man paid him $3,000 in cash.
On May 18, 2010, an undercover State Trooper, posing as a family member of the restaurant owner, met the defendant, confirmed the terms of his demand, and paid him $3,000 in cash.
The defendant allegedly accepted the money and told the trooper he would help secure approval of the license.
The investigation by Massachusetts State Police Special Service Section, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, as well as attorneys from the Middlesex District Attorney’s PACT Unit, resulted in numerous conversations between Hitchman and the undercover trooper.
In these conversations, the defendant admitted that he had made changes to the affidavit filed by the restaurant owner in order to ensure the license would be approved by the ABCC, reports the Everett Independent.
Additionally, in the course of these conversations, the defendant, unprompted, offered to sell the undercover State Trooper illegal video poker machines worth more than one thousand dollars each, and suggested that the undercover State Trooper could use them to generate illegal revenues at the restaurant.
On July 13, 2010, a search warrant was executed at the defendant’s residence in Melrose and, during the search, State Troopers recovered two 9mm semi-automatic pistols, one of which was loaded. Neither pistol was secured in a locked container or had a safety device of any kind.
Hitchman was arrested and arraigned that afternoon in Malden District Court where he was held on $3,000 cash bail with the conditions that he is to have no firearms and must stay away from the victim.