Disgraced Chelsea housing chief McLaughlin and two others face new criminal charges

Boston, MA 071713 Michael E. McLaughlin leaves the Joseph Moakley Feaderal Courthouse on July 17, 2013 with lawyer, Thomas M. Hoopes, after he was sentenced to three years (no more information given on assignment)/ (Essdras MSuarez/ Globe Staff)
Michael E. McLaughlin, right, walked out of the federal courthouse with defense attorney Thomas M. Hoopes after McLaughlin was sentenced in July to nearly three years in the earlier corruption case.
Essdras M. Suarez/Globe Staff

Michael E. McLaughlin, the former Chelsea Housing Authority director already serving a prison sentence for corruption, was indicted again today along with another former housing manager and a private contractor for allegedly rigging federal inspections so that public housing units in Chelsea would pass even though the apartments were poorly maintained.

A federal grand jury in Boston also indicted James H. Fitzpatrick, the housing authority’s former assistant director for modernization and capital planning, and Bernard Morosco, of Utica, N.Y., who was hired as a consultant by McLaughlin to help prepare for inspections.

All three men “knowingly and unlawfully conspired and agreed with each other ... to defraud the United States ... by impairing, impeding and defeating the proper operation of the physical condition assessment” of federal-subsidized apartments in Chelsea, the indictment charges.

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Morosco, a certified federal inspector, allegedly shared with McLaughlin and Fitzpatrick before scheduled inspections confidential information detailing what apartments the federal inspectors planned to inspect, according to the federal indictment.

As a result, McLaughlin and Fitzpatrick were able to ensure that the apartments to be inspected were in near-perfect condition, the indictment says. The federal Housing and Urban Development agency uses the inspections to rate the thousands of housing authorities across the country, and to make grants to the highest performers.

The indictment accuses the men of conspiring to rig the inspections in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

In August, McLaughlin was sentenced to almost three years in federal peniteniary for lying to federal authorities about his salary of $360,000 a year. He is currently imprisoned in Lewisburg, Pa., according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.