Rhode Island Boss Off to Prison

An ex-East Providence police officer, Alan A. Gouveia, who admitted embezzling $26,190 while treasurer of the local Fraternal Order of Police was handcuffed Jan. 9 and sent to prison by Superior Court Magistrate Joseph Keough who said police must be held to a higher standard. Before imposing the 10-year sentence, with 9 months to serve, Keough rejected a plea from Gouveia’s attorney, Stephen R. Famiglietti, that he be spared from any prison time because his mother is dying of cancer.

Keough said he had reduced prison time for Gouveia from 12 months to 9 months so as to give Gouveia time in the end to do something useful: 150 hours of community service that would begin after the prison time is finished, most of it devoted to giving lectures to students about his prison experience. Keough had previously ordered Gouveia to also make restitution for the $26,190 he admitted stealing by Jan 9. or face even more stringent punishment.

During sentencing arguments, Famiglietti pled for mercy for his client, saying that while what he had done was reprehensible using the money to feed his addiction to drinking and gambling his client was nonetheless a first-time offender and should be treated no differently than other first-time offenders who are generally not given jail terms.

Gouveia pled guilty last Nov. to three counts of embezzling funds from the East Providence FOP between 1994 and 1996. The FOP says it first discovered problems with the books after bringing in an independent auditor to look at them after Gouveia retired. Mark Norton, who took over the treasurer’s post from Gouveia in 1997, said there is reason to believe that the amount that Gouveia stole during the 10 years he served as treasurer was much higher than the amount he admitted to in court. “There is about $100,000 that’s not accounted for, but we can’t prove he took all of that,” Norton said. “But we think we can prove he took $65,000, and we’re going to court to get that back.”

Asst. Atty. Gen. Alan R. Goulart said one aspect of the embezzlement that FOP members found particularly galling was that midway through Gouveia’s term as treasurer, he announced to the membership that the group’s legal expenses were such that it needed more cash. A $10-a-week assessment was imposed on each member over and above the regular union dues for the next two years in effect taking an additional $1,000 from every member. [Providence J.-Bull. 01/10/01]