Ex-lawyer pleads guilty to smuggling $125K into US

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PITTSFIELD — A former Pittsfield attorney was sentenced Wednesday in Springfield federal court for smuggling $125,000 into the United States from Bermuda by mail.

Federal Judge Mark G. Mastroianni sentenced John Castiglione, 75, to one year of probation and forfeiture of the entire $125,000, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.

Castiglione pleaded guilty March 22 to one count of bulk cash smuggling. As a part of the plea agreement, he resigned from the practice of law and can't seek readmission to the bar, the statement said.

On May 2, 2014, Castiglione attempted to mail two packages containing $60,000 and $65,000 from Bermuda to his home in Pittsfield, with the intent to evade federal tax reporting requirements. When the packages were seized upon arrival in the U.S., law enforcement interviewed Castiglione, who admitted that he was aware of the federal reporting requirements but had attempted to smuggle the money into the United States because, in part, he did not want to pay any taxes and fees, according to the statement.

Castiglione also provided various contradictory statements regarding the origin of the $125,000, including saying the money might have been owned by a client of his law practice, when he knew that the money actually belonged to his family.

When reached by phone Thursday, Castiglione said he retired from law at the end of 2018.

"It was my money," he said. "I don't think I have anything else to add."

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.

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