Former 'Big Dig' manager charged with tax fraud

By Land Line staff | 7/8/2014

A former Massachusetts secretary of transportation and director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority who led Boston’s “Big Dig” toll tunnel project has been charged with filing false tax returns, U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz announced Tuesday, July 7.

Ortiz alleges that James J. Kerasiotes, 60, of Wrentham, Mass., under-reported business income he earned in 2010 and 2011 with a private-sector consulting company he owned. The charges are not related to the Big Dig project or any of Kerasiotes’ capacities as turnpike director or transportation secretary.

The charges come 14 years after former Gov. Paul Celucci terminated Kerasiotes from the Big Dig project due to cost overruns and construction setbacks.

“For the calendar years 2010 and 2011, Kerasiotes filed Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns, with the IRS reflecting only a portion of the income he earned from his consulting business during those years. By underreporting his total business income for 2010 and 2011, Kerasiotes evaded the payment of income taxes to the IRS,” Ortiz stated.

If convicted, Kerasiotes faces up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $100,000.

Boston’s Big Dig – known officially as the Central Artery/Tunnel Project – carries a 3.5-mile portion of Interstate 93 underneath Boston.

Contractors broke ground in 1991 and the project was completed in 2007. Early estimates in 1982 put the project at $2.8 billion, but by its completion date the Big Dig had chewed through $14.6 billion. Officials now estimate the eventual project cost at $22 billion by the time interest is paid off in 2038.

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