WSAR NEWS Archives for 2023-08

_ Fall River Inspection of I-195 Tunnel BeneathFall River City Hall and Adjacent Bridges

Work will occur in overnight hours starting on Monday night, August 7, through Friday morning, August 11th

FALL RIVER- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing inspection of the tunnel on I-195 beneath Fall River City Hall and adjacent bridges on South Main Street, Third Street, and Fourth Street. The work will be conducted on Monday, August 7 beginning at 9 p.m., and will continue nightly on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.  All inspection work is expected to be completed by 5 a.m. on Friday, August 11. 


The inspection work will require various lane and shoulder closures on I-195 to provide access to the structures.  At all times, a minimum of one travel lane will be maintained on I-195.

Bridge Joint Replacement on Rockdale Ave over Route 140

Work will begin on Sunday, August 6, and occur weekly, Sunday through Thursday, for two weeks between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. 
Temporary lane and shoulder closures will be in place 
New Bedford - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing crews will be performing joint replacement work on the bridge carrying Rockdale Avenue over Route 140 beginning Sunday, August 6, at 8:00 p.m.  Work will be performed Sunday through Thursday nights between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m., and work is expected to conclude on Friday, August 18, at 5:00 a.m.  


    Concerned about the growing and potentially unchecked use of artificial intelligence in the securities industry, Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin has directed his Securities Division to investigate the ways in which firms may be using the technology in their interactions with Massachusetts investors.

            Yesterday, Galvin’s Securities Division sent letters of inquiry to a number of registered and unregistered firms known to be using or developing the use of AI for business purposes in the securities industry. The letters seek information on the manner in which the entities may be using artificial intelligence in their business and activities.

            Of particular interest to Galvin are the supervisory procedures that firms have in place regarding artificial intelligence, and whether those systems ensure that the AI will not put the interests of the firm ahead of the interests of their clients. For those firms that have already deployed AI, the Division will also be evaluating the disclosure processes in place.

            “State securities regulators have an important role to play when it comes to AI and its impact on main street investors,” Galvin said today. “If deployed without the guardrails necessary to ensure proper disclosure and consideration of conflicts, I am concerned that this technology could result in harm to investors.” 

In addition to making inquiries relating to disclosure and supervisory procedures, the Securities Division is questioning select firms about any marketing materials provided to investors that may have been created using AI.

Firms included in the investigatory sweep have been given until August 16, 2023 to respond to the Division’s inquiries.

Westport Scam Attempt

A 28-year-old man who appears to be illegally in the country and is alleged to have attempted to scam a Westport couple out of $6,000 earlier this week was released back into the community on low bail after his arraignment Tuesday in Fall River District Court. 


During his arraignment on charges of Attempted Larceny and Conspiracy, Assistant District Attorney Nicole Cheney argued that Hector Arias-Guzman should be held in jail on $25,000 cash bail.  However, Judge Thomas Barrett released the defendant on $4,000 cash bail, an amount the defendant immediately posted to be set free.


“The amount of cash bail set in this case is clearly too low.  The defendant entered the country illegally in January and while residing here in Massachusetts is alleged to have used deception and manipulation to steal thousands of dollars from a local couple.


Given the defendant’s immigration status and lack of connection to the area, he is definitely a flight risk,” District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said.  “Our request for $25,000 cash bail was appropriate.  Trying to protect our seniors and other citizens from scams and other forms of fraud has been one my priorities as district attorney.  This is another example of what is occurring throughout our state and the country. I commend the victims for realizing this was likely a scam and immediately notifying Westport Police.  Victims often do not report these types of attempted scams to police. We all need to be very vigilant to the scam artists who are trying to rip off law abiding citizens of their hard earned money.”


Westport Police issued a press release on this case earlier this week.  See below for the entire Westport Police press release.


Lieutenant Johnny P. Couto of the Westport Police Department reports the arrest of an individual attempting to commit a phone scam of Westport citizens.


The Westport couple came into the station to report they had received a phone called from an individual fraudulently identifying himself as their son. This unknown male pleaded that he needed assistance from his parents to raise cash for bond after being arrested by police after a motor vehicle crash in Boston. He stated he was texting at the time of the crash and the accident involved a pregnant women. He told the potential fraud victims he was currently in the hospital with injuries but if bail money was not delivered, he would be sent immediately to jail.


The caller then put another male on the phone who identified himself as the assigned Public Defender who stated his son’s bond would require a $25,000 cash payment within the hour. After the couple told the “Public Defender” they could not get that amount of cash in an hour, the caller stated he could be released for $10,000. Again the couple informed the caller that $10,000 cash in one hour was impossible. The caller then negotiated with the couple and an amount of $6,000 cash would be acceptable.

Suspecting this was a fraud, the couple went to the Police Station to report the incident. Detective Sergeant Bryan McCarthy spoke with the couple, and recognized the name given as the Public Defender, Mark Cohen, as well as the cell number, was consistent with a previous scam that occurred the week prior. He instructed the couple to return home and to call back if the fraudster called back with instructions for the money delivery. The fraudster did call back with instructions on how to package the cash and advised that a LYFT driver would be arriving to collect the money for delivery to Boston.


Det. Sgt. McCarthy immediately assembled a surveillance team, which included Detectives from area departments, and followed the LYFT driver to an address in Taunton. An unknown male approached the ride share vehicle and took possession of the package. Upon seeing McCarthy and other plain clothes officers approaching, he fled on foot. McCarthy gave foot chase and apprehended the individual, later identified as Hector Arias-Guzman (09-01-1994) of 20 Mallard St. Boston.


Guzman was previously apprehended by Customs and Border Patrol in January of this year for entering the United States illegally via the Del Rio area of Texas.


Guzman is being charged with Conspiracy and Attempted Larceny. The case remains under investigation.


The Westport Police Department advises residents to be vigilant of these phone type scams that are plaguing every city and town in Massachusetts. No legitimate business, hospital, police station, or judicial/court department accepts prepaid gift cards, phone cards or cash in an envelope delivered by any ride share company for services rendered.


Lawyers for Civil Rights and Brown Rudnick File MBTA Communities Zoning Lawsuit to Challenge Suburban Reluctance to Address Housing Crisis

As Affordable Housing Crisis Devastates Low-Income Families and Community Groups, Plaintiffs Ask Supreme Judicial Court To Make Clear That New MBTA Communities Zoning Law Is Mandatory
August 3, 2023
Boston – Today, the Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance (“CMHA”) and a low-income family searching for affordable housing have sued the Town of Holden for its refusal to comply with the Commonwealth’s new MBTA Communities Zoning Law (the “Law”).  A resident of Holden has also joined the challenge.  The Law seeks to address the affordable housing crisis by requiring 177 communities with or near MBTA service (“MBTA Communities”) to include zoning districts in their communities where multi-family housing can be built more freely.  The complaint, filed by Lawyers for Civil Rights and Brown Rudnick LLP, contends that all MBTA Communities must comply with the Law’s multi-family zoning mandate. 
Massachusetts is mired in an affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately harms communities of color.  “Exclusionary zoning” policies that inhibit multi-family housing production suppress the Commonwealth’s housing supply and ensure that low-income residents and people of color have few affordable options.
By stating that MBTA Communities “shall have” at least one reasonably sized zoning district where multi-family housing can be freely built, the Law aims to reduce exclusionary zoning, boost housing supply to meet demand, and reduce housing costs.  Municipal officials from Holden claim that compliance with the Law is optional despite guidance from the Attorney General and state legislators that it is mandatory.  Holden’s insistence on this point must be corrected to avoid a domino effect of non-compliance from other MBTA Communities. 
“We must maximize every available tool to keep Central Massachusetts families housed in their communities of choice,” said CMHA CEO Leah Bradley.  “With the unprecedented surge in rent prices and homelessness in recent years, more Massachusetts families are becoming homeless and they are staying homeless longer.  Communities across Central Massachusetts are working with us to find solutions to the housing crisis.  We are asking the same of Holden.”
 “This lawsuit aims to support municipalities that are working to comply with the Law, by ensuring that recalcitrant towns like Holden do not shirk their obligations,” said LCR staff attorney Jacob Love.  “Every municipality covered by this Law, especially predominantly white, affluent towns like Holden, must relinquish exclusionary zoning and contribute to the cause.” 
“Solving the affordable housing crisis is an urgent matter in the Commonwealth,” said Rebecca MacDowell Lecaroz, who is leading the Brown Rudnick team working with LCR on behalf of the Plaintiffs.  “The untenable position taken by the Town of Holden must be unquestionably discredited to ensure timely compliance by all of the covered communities.”
The Law’s first compliance deadline, which required towns to file a six-page form explaining how they will comply with the Law, expired six months ago on January 31, 2023.  Seven towns initially failed to meet that deadline but, following demand letters sent by LCR, only two of those towns remain non-compliant: Holden and Berkley. 
LCR and its client communities are committed to ensuring full compliance with the Law is achieved.  To that end, LCR today also sent a request to Berkley seeking public records in the town’s possession regarding compliance with the Law.  

Career Criminal Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison for Trafficking Fentanyl

U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant previously convicted of federal drug trafficking charges

BOSTON – A career criminal was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston to a total of 11 years in prison for trafficking fentanyl while still on supervised release for a previous federal drug trafficking conviction. 


Ozair Pereira, 35, of Brockton, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 10 years in prison and eight years of supervised release. In September 2022, Pereira pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and four counts of distribution of fentanyl. For committing the offense while on federal supervised release, Pereira was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to an additional term of one year in prison, to be served consecutively to the sentence imposed by Judge Sorokin. 


In 2018, Pereira and several other defendants were arrested as part of a wide-ranging investigation targeting drug trafficking and violence in Brockton. Pereira was intercepted on a court-authorized wiretap ordering heroin from a drug supplier. After pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, Pereira was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. 


On four occasions in February and March 2021, while on federal supervised release for the drug trafficking conviction, Pereira worked with co-defendant Robert Roscoe and others to distribute over 40 grams of fentanyl to cooperating witnesses and undercover agents. In October 2022, Roscoe was sentenced to 16 months in prison and three years of supervised release after previously pleading guilty to his role in the conspiracy.

Milling and Paving in Fall River Starting Monday 8 7 23

Milling and paving work continues with milling work in the North Eastern Avenue and Hartwell Street neighborhoods

The paving work, associated with this milling work, is tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of the week.


Milling the following streets on Monday, 8/7:
Fifth St    Hartwell St    Rodman St
Celia St.    Freelove St    #135 Celia St
Dublin St    Freelove St    Celia St
Freelove St    New Boston Rd    Bullock St
New Boston Rd    N. Eastern Ave    Hyacinth St
Wingold St    New Boston Rd    #145 Wingold St.
Milling the following streets on Tuesday,  8/8:
Crestwood St    Hiram St    End
David St    Hyacinth St    #464 David St
David St    Hyacinth St    #603 David St
Guy St    Freelove St    Hyacinth St
Hiram St    N. Eastern Ave    Freelove St
Hyde St    New Boston Rd    #330 Hyde St
Hyde St    Guy St    #330 Hyde St
Jules St    Guy St    David St
Rich St    #107 Rich St    New Boston Rd