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Dean Tran, former Massachusetts State Senator, charged with COVID benefits fraud, hiding income

Former Massachusetts State Senator Dean Tran charged with COVID relief money fraud
Former Massachusetts State Senator Dean Tran charged with COVID relief money fraud 00:34

BOSTON - Former Massachusetts State Senator Dean Tran has been charged with COVID benefits fraud and hiding thousands of dollars in income from the IRS.

Tran, 48, of Fitchburg, was arrested Friday and will be arraigned in the afternoon in federal court in Boston.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Tran applied for pandemic unemployment benefits in 2021, shortly after his term in the state Senate ended. The problem, prosecutors say, is that he had already accepted a job as a consultant for an auto parts company. While he was working as a paid consultant, he allegedly collected $30,120 in pandemic unemployment benefits.

Prosecutors also said Tran didn't include $50,000 he made from the consulting job on his 2021 federal tax return. He also collected thousands of dollars in rent from a property in Fitchburg for two years and never told the IRS about it, investigators said in the indictment.

He's now charged with 25 counts of wire fraud and three counts of filing false tax returns.

Tran, a Republican, served in the state Senate from 2017-2020 and had a failed run for Congress against Rep. Lori Trahan.

Last month, he pleaded not guilty to violating state ethics laws. He was accused of using state money to pay his staffers to campaign for him from July to November in 2018. Public employees can't use public resources in political campaigns in Massachusetts.

In July 2022, Tran pleaded not guilty to allegedly stealing a gun from a constituent and misleading investigators while he was a state senator.

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