Attorney pleads guilty in scandal
Boose faces two years in prison for helping Masilotti in land deal
July 20, 2007 |By Josh Hafenbrack Staff Writer
West Palm Beach attorney William Boose pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to helping disgraced former County Commissioner Tony Masilotti conceal his ownership in a land deal.
Boose, 62, faces two years in prison and $400,000 in forfeitures, according to a plea deal with federal prosecutors. But the judge could add a year to the jail term and a $250,000 fine under sentencing guidelines.
Sentencing is Nov. 2 before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp. That's the same judge who gave Masilotti five years in prison and ordered the former commissioner to forfeit nearly $10 million in land and profits he got from secret deals during his two terms.
Boose is accused of serving as Masilotti's lawyer on a Martin County land deal in which Masilotti bought about 150 acres and flipped it for a $1.3 million profit.
"He has decided to plead guilty today and to put this behind him, because he feels it's in his best interest and the best interests of those that are close to him," Boose's lawyer, Richard Lubin, told WPTV-Ch. 5 after Thursday's hearing. "He accepts full responsibility. He accepts the consequences, and he hopes to be able to move on with his life."
Prosecutors say Boose created a secret trust for Masilotti and helped him swap the Martin County land before a public disclosure of his ownership would have been necessary when the South Florida Water Management bought the property as part of a larger acquisition.
"Rather than report the scheme to law enforcement, Mr. Boose, a real estate lawyer and member of the Florida Bar, instead took action to help conceal Mr. Masilotti's corruption," U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said a news conference earlier this week announcing the plea deal with Boose.
Boose, a one-time county zoning chief and prominent land-use lawyer and lobbyist, is a former partner at the law firm, Boose, Casey, Ciklin, Lubitz, Martens, McBane & O'Connell. The firm was under county contract as bond counsel while Boose was serving as Masilotti's personal lawyer."
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