Two months after Ray Medley died in 2012, his will’s executor, then state representative Raymond Gallison, began stealing from his estate, prosecutors now charge.
Gallison took the Barrington bachelor’s credit card and went to Sam’s Club. He went to Walmart. He went to Stop & Shop. Gallison bought groceries, clothes and personal-care products.
Gallison sold Medley’s Toyota cheap to his son, a Bristol police officer, and pocketed the $500 rather than deposit the money into Medley’s estate account.
And all of these small thefts were but tiny examples of Gallison’s greed, prosecutors say, compared with the almost $678,000 in stock he eventually took from Medley’s estate.
On Monday federal authorities filed nine felony counts against the former House Finance Committee chairman, saying he robbed not just Medley but a disabled woman’s trust fund and from disadvantaged youth seeking help from the educational nonprofit organization Gallison worked for.
“Mr. Gallison was essentially, as alleged, stealing from wherever he could,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “It didn’t matter if the person was deceased. It didn’t matter if it was public money that he could shift around … It didn’t matter if it was somebody who was disabled and he was the sole trustee of that trustâ€¦”
In announcing the results of an almost yearlong investigation, Neronha said Gallison, 64, of Bristol, had also agreed to plead guilty to the charges.
Those charges include wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and filing false tax returns. The identity theft charge alone carries a two-year mandatory federal prison term. Gallison could be imprisoned for twice that long. No sentencing date has been set.
“At bottom he lied and he stole, in a variety of ways and from a variety of people,” said Neronha.
Authorities say the charges essentially stemmed from three individual schemes:
– That while working for the taxpayer-supported educational nonprofit organization called Alternative Education Programming (AEP), Gallison misappropriated more than $64,575 earmarked to help disadvantaged youth attend the Community College of Rhode Island.
– That he took $8,900 from a trust account of a disabled Taunton woman to cover his theft from AEP. (Gallison had been appointed trustee to assure the long-term welfare of the now 43-year-old.)
– And that he devised various plots to transfer $677,957 worth of Medley’s stock into his bank accounts.
Officials had said earlier that the investigation began with allegations that Gallison arranged meetings for a prostitute during his 16-year tenure as a lawmaker. Neronha would not comment on what prompted the investigation but other officials have told The Journal that investigators could not substantiate those prostitution allegations.
Gallison’s world imploded last March when state and federal investigators searched his home at 50 King Philip Ave., in Bristol.
That same month Neronha subpoenaed Barrington officials to produce the probate court file of the late Ray Medley to a federal grand jury for review.
In 2009, Medley named his “good friend” Gallison, a Massachusetts-licensed lawyer, to be the executor of his will. He also identified nine charities and nonprofits as beneficiaries to his estate.
Medley died at 65 in February 2012. Years passed without any of those beneficiaries receiving money as expected.
In early 2016, a representative of the Massasoit Historical Association, where Medley served as president for many years, shared her concerns with Thomas E. Wright, a former assistant U.S. Attorney and friend of Medley’s.
Wright told The Journal last summer that he immediately became suspicious that “something is wrong here” when he looked at the will’s inventory. Missing were hundreds of thousands of dollars in stocks and bonds that he knew Medley had.
Meanwhile on another front, state and federal investigators were looking at Gallison’s running of the Providence-based AEP educational nonprofit organization, funded largely on state grants.
Records show the college preparedness organization had received more than $2.2 million in taxpayer funding between 2003 and last year.
Gallison served on the House Finance Committee that approved many of those grants. In 2014, he rose to committee chairman – even though seven years earlier he had paid a $6,000 fine to the state Ethics Commission for repeatedly not disclosing the money he earned at AEP.
Prosecutors alleged that in 2014 Gallison filed with the IRS tax forms that – along with other falsehoods – vastly inflated the numbers of students the agency was helping in order to skim grant money out of the budget for himself.
For instance, Gallison reported that in the previous fiscal year the agency had paid $77,000 in tuition and fees for 47 students. In fact, it had helped only two students at a cost of about $3,000.
And Gallison allegedly used $64,000 of that recorded expenditure to pay himself and another AEP employee.
The government also alleges Gallison filed IRS and state documents that carried bogus signatures and names of agency officers.
During their investigation, agents and detectives searched Gallison’s State House office. Gallison visited state police headquarters in Scituate and some lawmakers said they heard rumors he was wearing a wire. He wasn’t.
But on May 3, days after meeting with House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and his chief of staff at a Newport Creamery in Cranston, Gallison resigned his seat after 16 years on Smith Hill.
Gallison, a Democrat and 2015 chief marshal of Bristol’s famous Fourth of July parade, is the third former state representative in as many weeks to face criminal charges.
Neronha voiced frustration with the repeated episodes of politicians violating their public oath to serve honorably.
“When you’ve stood here for seven and a half years and you’re back here for the same thing over and over again, it’s a little frustrating, particularly when you have a lot of other things you could be doing.
“This says something about our political culture here which I think should get our attention.”