By Seth Daniel
Former Revere Library Director Bob Rice Jr. has been indicted by a Suffolk County Grand Jury on 21 counts, including embezzlement and procurement fraud.
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley’s office told the Journal on Tuesday afternoon that Rice had been indicted on three counts of larceny of property over $250, three counts of embezzlement by a city official and 15 counts of procurement fraud.
He will be arraigned in Boston’s Suffolk Superior Court on April 1st.
Reached by phone at his current job as library director in Pelham, NH, Rice said he didn’t have a comment right now, but that he wished to respond through his attorney at a later date.
Rice did an animated interview with a Lowell newspaper a few years back completely refuting the allegations, even going to far as to say he was set up by Mayor Tom Ambrosino.
The chair of the Pelham Library Board of Trustees, Fran Garboski, also declined to comment on the matter.
Revere Police Capt. Michael Murphy said that Capt. Dennis Collyer and the detective unit conducted a tedious, but exact investigation for the past few years. He said they were assisted by a civilian forensic accountant brought in by the organization New England State Police Information Network (NESPIN).
“In order to trace the goings on over a long period of time, it was necessary to closely scrutinize the records – his records and the Library’s records – in order to make correlations,” said Murphy. “There is no conviction right now, but it’s a fairly substantial case…It’s fairly evident to us he was ill-intended and you can see by the number of charges it was fairly pervasive.”
DA Spokesman Jake Wark said that Rice won’t be taken into custody and that the investigation was a long, laborious affair that utilized a good partnership with the Revere Police and the DA’s Office.
Mayor Tom Ambrosino was shocked to hear of the indictments, but said the City always felt that something was amiss with Rice.
The matter began in late 2008 when Rice abruptly resigned after more than 20 years on the job. His resignation came under allegations that he had purchased many items that had nothing to do with library functions.
That resulted in a city-funded audit done over a period of several months, with the results revealing some questionable activity.
The City forwarded that audit to the District Attorney, and it’s been in the hands of investigators every since.
“The City always thought there was something wrong and gave our evidence to the DA,” said the mayor. “My only comment is I don’t find any joy in seeing someone indicted. Everyone is entitled to their day in court and he is innocent until proven guilty. I’ll wait to see how the process pans out.”
Ambrosino said it was the City’s Financial Department that uncovered the inconsistencies in the paperwork from the library, specifically the purchasing agent.
While the case seemed to stagnate publicly over the past few years, action picked up on Valentine’s Day last month when two search warrants were executed.
One was at Rice’s home and another was at a relative’s home where Rice formerly spent some time.
“It was not a fruitless search and the evidence was seized at both locations and there was follow-up with some cooperation with Mr. Rice,” said Capt. Murphy. “However, the results of these search warrants were impounded by the Chelsea Court.”
Murphy said that investigators looked back approximately five years in their investigation.