Former state Rep. Gallison arraigned in criminal case

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former state Rep. Ray Gallison was arraigned in front of a federal judge Friday after agreeing to plead guilty to nine criminal charges related to years of financial misdeeds.

Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan entered a not guilty plea on Gallison’s behalf, but the former House Finance Committee chairman has already reached a deal with federal prosecutors that will result in him pleading guilty and spending at least two years in prison. A change of plea hearing will be scheduled at a later date.

Gallison had nothing to say as he left court Friday afternoon. He hopped into a waiting car and drove away.

Sullivan released Gallison on $50,000 unsecured bond – which means he did not have to post any money – and forced him to surrender his passport. The Bristol Democrat is also not allowed to travel outside Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The plea agreement was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin earlier in the week.

The charges against Gallison, 64, involve taking $678,000 from the estate of a man named Ray Medley and nearly $9,000 from a disabled individual’s trust fund, as well as misuse of funds from his taxpayer-funded nonprofit, Alternative Educational Programming (AEP), and tax violations.

Gallison faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison, along with a fine of $1.8 million and three years of supervised release, according to the plea agreement, which Gallison signed Jan. 11. He will “be ordered to make full restitution,” according to Neronha.

Gallison, who was first elected in 2000, abruptly resigned from the General Assembly last May under a cloud of suspicion after House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he was confronted about his behavior.

Gallison was serving at the time as chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee, one of the most important jobs in the legislature. He had previously been fined $6,000 by the Rhode Island Ethics Commission in 2007 for failing to disclose his employment with AEP, and his legal work has also come under scrutiny.

AEP received $2.3 million from state taxpayers between 2003 and 2016, but the evidence presented Monday suggests it was not all being used for its intended purpose. Investigators say AEP reported spending $78,000 to assist 47 students in the 2012-13 academic year but actually spent barely $3,000 to assist two students, while nearly $65,000 went to Gallison and an associate “for no work undertaken on AEP’s behalf.”

The evidence also confirms allegations that Gallison forged a signature and included false lists of board members in AEP’s IRS filings.

Some of Gallison’s activity was interrelated. Investigators say in June 2013 he took nearly $9,000 from the disabled person’s trust fund and transferred it to AEP, which owed CCRI money for tuition payments. They say he did not reimburse the trust fund until last April, two weeks after investigators interviewed him for the case.

Medley was an unmarried man with few close associates who described Gallison as a “good friend” in his will. After he died in 2012, investigators allege Gallison repeatedly robbed his estate, pocketing the proceeds from stocks, pawn shop transactions, a car and more. The money was supposed to go to various charities.

Dan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Ted Nesi contributed to this report.