From powerful to prison, disgraced former Rep. Gallison sentenced to 51 months

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Former State Rep. and House Finance Committee chairman Raymond Gallison Jr., who admitted stealing from one client who was dead and another who was disabled, was sentenced to 51 months in prison Friday afternoon by U.S. District Judge William E. Smith.

Gallison, who was often available for interviews during his 16 years in office, but he didn’t have a word to say as he ran from the courtroom Friday.

Gallison will remain free until he turns himself in July 10.

The hearing got underway shortly after 2 p.m., with the government telling the court Gallison is a “scoundrel” who felt his post as an elected official would allow him to get away with cashing a dead client’s checks.

Walt Buteau is Tweeting from court. Story continues below

In a motion filed on Tuesday, Gallison had asked for a 36-month sentence, far short of the federal guidelines of 57 to 65 months for the crimes he admitted committing.

Gallison had pleaded guilty in March to an assortment of nine charges including mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and tax charges.

But the shocker involved looting just under $678,000 from the estate of Barrington resident Ray Medley, who had identified the Bristol Democrat as a good friend in his will.

GallIson also admitted taking almost $9,000 from a disabled individual’s trust fund, as well as misusing funds from his taxpayer-funded nonprofit, Alternative Educational Programming (AEP). As the House Finance chairman, Gallison had a vote about funding for AEP.

Timeline: A history of political scandals in Rhode Island »

In a filing on Thursday, the government wrote “nothing in this case justified a downward variance” from the sentence range.

That document also included the details of a confrontation between Gallison and an FBI agent who was secretly watching him about five months before whispers of the probe were revealed as Gallison suddenly resigned in May 2016 from the position he had held since 2000.

According to the government’s memorandum, in late 2015, Gallison “made the surveillance,” as in he noticed someone had their eyes on him.

“Apparently the defendant was surveillance conscious,” the document stated. “He threatened the agent by exclaiming the agent did not know who the [expletive] he was dealing with.”

The filing went on to say on the day that Gallison made the threat, he “contacted a law enforcement source” and asked him to run the registration plate on the agent’s vehicle. Gallison “inaccurately recorded” the number and ran into a dead end according to the document.

The memorandum said “Gallison must have thought he was engaged in some sort of illicit activity warranting law enforcement surveillance.”

“Gallison was so arrogant as to think that he could somehow do something about this law enforcement intervention by running the plate,” the document reads. “His comment to the agent really speaks volumes about the defendant’s conduct.”

Gallison’s attorney Anthony Traini had asked the court to consider Gallison’s cooperation with government investigators, his various medical conditions and the “extraordinary efforts made toward restitution.”

But the government argued Gallison was greedy as he set up his various schemes, that he did not cooperate as investigators unraveled the details of the case.

“His counsel returned the stocks [from Ray Medley’s Estate] only after the United States seized the stock accounts,” the filing said. “He has paid approximately $162,000 but the rest of the money owed the Estate the United States took forcibly.”

Traini had also tried to separate Gallson’s crimes from “the likes of Gordon Fox, John Celona, Gerard Martineau, and any number of others convicted” in public corruption cases, arguing that although Gallison was a state representative when he committed the crimes, he did not commit them in his capacity as an elected official.

Traini added that “the fall from grace, the humiliation, embarrassment and loss of dignity…are themselves punishment.”

Now, the man who had his hands on the state’s purse strings, will also be punished with several years in prison, starting with his reporting date.

Walt Buteau (wbuteau@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.