A 69-year-old Melrose man who received his first financial-fraud conviction when he was just 19 was sentenced yesterday to seven years and three months in federal prison for a scheme in which he received some $350,000 in Massachusetts unemployment payments, many in the names of people actually not eligible for unemployment because they were in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin agreed with federal prosecutors that Alan Neal Scott's lifelong incorrigibility and his actions during the six-year venture - which started while Neal was still on probation for an earlier bank-fraud conviction and ended after he obtained several thousand dollars in pandemic unemployment payments last year - merited such a harsh punishment even for a man now suffering from a variety of ailments. His attorney had asked for four years, citing those ailments and Scott's love of rescue dogs.
In its sentencing recommendation, the US Attorney's office in Boston recounted Scott's life of white-collar crime, which first came to official notice in 1972, when he was arrested and convicted for passing a bad check:
The defendant has a long criminal history, nearly all of which consists of convictions for similar crimes of deceit. ... His full history of such fraudulent behavior is incredible.
He has at least 17 separate convictions, including 12 prior federal fraud convictions. Moreover, as explained in [a probation-department report], these prior crimes involved a variety of elaborate schemes, masterminded by the defendant, to defraud many different victims. He organized co-conspirators to steal identities to submit fraudulent applications for car loans. ... He used a position as a paralegal to steal client checks from the law firm. ... He filed numerous false tax returns using false identities and committed numerous other bank fraud scams. He violated the terms of his release on numerous occasions, including submitting falsified records of employment during his last term of supervised release. He received numerous disciplinary reports while incarcerated, including for charges such as using unauthorized email to communicate with other inmates, sending money to another inmate, and falsely marking packages as "legal mail" in an effort to ensure that packages would not be searched by prison officials. There is simply no denying that the defendant is a very clever and experienced criminal mastermind.
The memorandum continues:
Previous sentences to incarceration have clearly failed to sufficiently deter the defendant’s criminal activity. He conducted part of the criminal activity at issue here while on supervised release from previous sentences. This is a case where specific deterrence in the form of incarceration is plainly required. Nothing except incarceration appears to work to keep this defendant from committing significant frauds and victimizing others. It is his way of life.