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Malden's Toomajian pleads not guilty to latest charges

Posted by Matt Byrne  April 11, 2011 05:25 PM

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Matt Byrne

Charles Toomajian (right) appears in court Monday with his attorney, Thomas Drechsler.

Malden mayoral aide Charles Toomajian pleaded not guilty today to the latest round of charges filed against him in a sprawling investigation of a money laundering scheme connected to an alleged New England crime ring.

Toomajian, 53, special assistant to Malden Mayor Richard C. Howard and a private attorney, was indicted in March for conspiracy, larceny, receiving stolen property, and being an accessory after the fact to larceny, according to the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Also appearing today were codefendants Charles Davis, 44, of Salem, N.H.; Paul Breen, 38, of Beverly; and  Joseph Giallanella, who all pleaded not guilty to related charges in the case.

Toomajian is due back in court June 28 for a pretrial conference.

While little was outwardly revealed today, details about the scope and scale of the case began to surface. The prosecution, led by Essex First Assistant District Attorney John T. Dawley, has begun exchanging information with defense attorneys, called discovery, when evidence is required to be disclosed to the other side. 

During a discussion between attorneys and the court to determine the next appearance date, Davis's attorney, Elliot M. Weinstein, said that "the paper alone is thousands of pages," requiring more time for defense attorneys to sift through the documents.

Toomajian, dressed in a black suit, tie, and loafers, fidgeted in court before the proceedings began, tapping a rhythm on his knee and  glancing periodically at the courtroom door behind him.

Investigators allege that he received $659,525 in the scheme and helped funnel cash to two codefendants as payment for gaming debts owed by Davis, who is charged with embezzling more than $1.86 million from Randstad Professionals, a global staffing agency with an office in Wakefield where he worked, according to the DA's office.

Breen was arrested at his Beverly home last month for his alleged involvement. Breen, a former agent for Boston Commonwealth Real Estate, was indicted by a secret statewide grand jury last month.

Davis and Toomajian were first charged in October, when the two were among 31 who were indicted in an allegedly organized crime ring that authorities say engaged in marjuana and heroin distribution, extortion, violent home invasions, loan-sharking, and gambling.

Mark Rossetti of East Boston was said to be at the top of the organization, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. Toomajian, Davis, and codefendants Joseph Giallanella, Michael Petrillo, and Breen are allegedly linked to the organization's embezzlement operation.

Toomajian pleaded not guilty to initial charges in October. Boston attorney Thomas Drechsler, Tooomajian's attorney, says his client denies all charges. Howard, mayor of Malden, has kept Toomajian on the job and has said he will await further details in the case to make any decisions regarding his aide's employment status.

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