Ex-Lee police chief sentenced to 27 months in prison

Joseph Buffis demanded $4,000 donation to toy fund from couple that was facing prostitution charges

Joseph Buffis (Image Courtesy: News10.com)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Lee’s former police chief has been sentenced to 27 months in prison on an extortion charge. Joseph Buffis was sentenced Tuesday at U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Federal prosecutors said that in February of 2012, Buffis used his position to extort a $4,000 donation to a holiday toy fund he controlled, from a couple that had been facing charges for allegedly running a prostitution business out of their inn.

Lee police headquarters was raided by FBI agents in November of that year, and Buffis was indicted the following August. Weeks later, he was fired from his job as chief.

In June of last year, a federal jury convicted Buffis of extortion, but found him not guilty of 10 additional charges of money laundering and wire fraud.

The prostitution-related charges that had been filed against extortion victims Tara Viola and Thomas Fusco have since been dropped.

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