Boston, Massachusetts - A Massachusetts woman pleaded guilty today to tax evasion, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and money laundering.
According to court documents and the criminal complaint, Deana Martin, 53, of Milton, owned and managed Northern Herb, an illegal marijuana delivery service that operated in Massachusetts from 2015 to 2018. While Northern Herb purported to sell medical marijuana, it did not require a customer to provide proof of a medical marijuana card. Furthermore, it is alleged that Northern Herb would deliver marijuana to unattended locations (such as a front door or hallway) where unknown third parties might have access to it. Northern Herb used locations in Canton, Milton, Foxborough, and Hyde Park to store and distribute marijuana, and employed at least 25 workers.
From May 2016 through July 2018, Northern Herb had total revenue exceeding $14 million. Northern Herb did not pay taxes on its profits nor withhold taxes due from its employees’ wages. Martin paid many of the employees in cash and did not collect or pay the IRS withholdings that were due nor file with the IRS required reports documenting the payments made to Northern Herb’s employees and independent contractors.
U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman today accepted Martin’s guilty plea but reserved acceptance of the plea agreement that, if accepted, would guide the sentence to be imposed. Martin is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 1, 2021.
On the drug counts, Martin faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years of prison and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. On the money laundering counts, Martin faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the money laundered. On the tax count, Martin faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. Martin also faces restitution and forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell of the District of Massachusetts; Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Boyle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Division; and Special Agent in Charge Ramsey Covington of the IRS-Criminal Investigations in Boston made the announcement today. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service also provided valuable assistance with this investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bill Abely and John Mulcahy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and Assistant Chief Kathleen Barry of the Tax Division prosecuted the case.