6 Indicted for Roles in Allegedly Throwing Criminal Trial

A Salem man was among the six North Shore residents charged with obstructing justice to obtain the acquittal of two defendants in an insurance fraud case.

A Salem man was among the six North Shore residents who were indicted Tuesday by a Suffolk County grand jury for their role in allegedly bribing witnesses to throw a criminal trial.

William Penta, along with five others, will now face varying charges in Suffolk Superior Court of witness corruption, perjury, persuading another person to commit perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy in order to obtain the acquittal of two defendants at a criminal trial for insurance fraud this past March.

The Attorney General's office sought out those charges after each individual testified during the trial, contradicting their earlier statements to investigators and their own guilty pleas.

“We allege that these defendants were involved in a scheme involving bribery and perjury that undermined the criminal justice system,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said. “It is vital that witnesses testify truthfully under oath to maintain the integrity of the judicial process.”

The following individuals were indicted on the charges listed below:

William Penta, 49, of Salem:

  • Charged with perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

David Forlizzi, 52, of Peabody:

  • Charged with corruption of a witness, subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and habitual offender. 

Fred Battista, 50, of Winthrop:

  • Charged with corruption of a witness, subornation of perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

Janet Vaccari, 51, of Peabody

  • Charged with corruption of a witness, perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy. 

Laura Battista, 63, of Revere

  • Charged with corruption of a witness, perjury, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

Deana Pistone, age 29, of Wakefield

  • Charged with corruption of a witness and conspiracy.

Investigators said Forlizzi and Fred Battista schemed together to stage three car accidents and scam two separate insurance companies with the willing help of the other four individuals in the case.

Forlizzi and Fred Battista both ran Collision Headquarters, Inc. in Winthrop. Fred Battista is Laura Battista's stepson and Pistone is Vaccari's daughter.

The AG's office said all five were originally indicted by a Suffolk County Grand Jury in 2008, along with Fred Battista, for insurance fraud, larceny, conspiracy and other offenses.

Before being indicted, Vaccari, Pistone and Penta each gave recorded statements to investigators, indicating Forlizzi and Fred Battista had arranged the scam, says the AG's office. Vaccari, Pistone, Penta, and Laura Battista then all pleaded guilty to conspiring with the two men to carry out the fraud. But this past March, while testifying at Forlizzi's and Fred Battista's trial, they all changed their story.

The AG's office said the testimony directly contradicted their recorded statements and their prior guilty pleas. The foursome instead said under oath that Forlizzi and Fred Battista had nothing to do with the fraud and were not even aware of it. The AG's office also said Pistone was nowhere to be found despite extensive search efforts by authorities.

The trial judge at the time let the jury go home and suggested investigators examine whether a fraud had been committed upon the court. The AG's office subsequently conducted an investigation, which led to the recent charges.

Investigators say Forlizzi allegedly paid thousands of dollars to Vaccari leading up to and during the trial and Vaccari then sent that money out-of-state in an effort to keep Pistone hidden and keep her from testifying. Forlizzi and Vaccari allegedly tried to disguise the flow of money so it wouldn't be traced back to Forlizzi.

Authorities said the pair conspired through numerous text messages and phones calls before the trial.

Vaccari, Penta and Laura Battista then lied during their trial testimony, the AG's office says.

All six defendants are due back in Suffolk Superior Court on Nov. 20 for arraignment in the higher court.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Brendan O’Shea, with the assistance of investigators Rose Bagalawis and Christopher Gabriel, and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s office.

J.Leblanc Sr November 15, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Wow what nerve...do you know that coakleys office has just recently been caught destroying complaints about state and local police as a nothing more than inside favors......obstruction of justice...this office and city is the birth place......keep your eye on news
Bill November 15, 2012 at 04:22 PM
J.leblanc Sr November 15, 2012 at 05:11 PM
I was referring to lab etc...what's dendrites...got to do with it.....any way have a good one preparing for a journey
Fito Paez February 23, 2013 at 01:11 AM
A swindler will always be a swindler. - Abaddon
D March 09, 2013 at 08:02 PM
lemme just say.............. penta is a loser always has been, DO YOU BELIEVE that this guy is the president of a sober club in malden mass!!!!!!! WOW!! GOES TO SHOW THAT HE CAN TALK ANYONE INTO ANYTHING.... SCUM


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