Ray Pickles pleaded not guilty to six charges of Larceny over $250 during his arraignment at the Plymouth County Superior Court in Brockton on Friday, April 12.
The 85-year-old Marion town clerk is facing criminal charges related to his former position as executive director of the Carver, Marion, Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District (CMWRRDD), and stands accused of stealing over $610,000 from the District over six years.
Standing in the courtroom with his hands clasped in front of him, smiling slightly and looking less frail than he has during other recent public appearances, Pickles stated “not guilty” to each of the six criminal counts brought against him by the Attorney General’s Office.
Special Assistant Attorney General John Brooks, the main prosecutor of the case, said one criminal count relates to an account with Rockland Trust Bank that Pickles opened on behalf of the District, from which he made 269 cash withdrawals totaling $306,000.
“It was, essentially, a secret account,” said Brooks, of which neither the District’s board or the District’s bookkeeper was aware.
Brooks stated that Pickles opened another similar account with Eastern Bank, from which he stole $65,000 in checks Pickles wrote out to himself and, from a third account, Pickles allegedly wrote himself 43 checks totaling $35,000.
Pickles is also accused of billing the District for work that he did not perform, and allegedly billed Barden’s Boat Yard on behalf of the District for fuel that Pickles used for his own private boat.
When Brooks asked the judge to move with the case on track “C”, the track that most murder, kidnapping, manslaughter, and rape cases are assigned, the judge asked him if he was sure, given that with track C it could take up to three years for the case to go to trial. Brooks confirmed his preference, saying that there was a significant number of documents involved in the discovery process, but Brooks added that he thinks it might not take quite as long as three years.
A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for June 6 at the Plymouth County Superior Court in Plymouth.
Robert Tinkham Jr., 57, was also arraigned on his two criminal counts – one for Larceny over $250 and one for Presentation of False Claims.
Tinkham is accused of accepting $50,000 in payments authorized by Pickles for work that was never performed. At the time, Tinkham was the chairman of the District’s board, as well as the health agent for the Town of Carver.
Tinkham’s case is also slated for Track C, with a pre-trial conference set for the same date as Pickles’.
Pickles, Tinkham, and Pickles’ wife, Diane Bondi-Pickles, are all defendants in a civil lawsuit filed by the CMWRRDD last year. In his defense, Pickles blamed the financial discrepancies on his age, stating in his response to the civil complaint, “In recent years, due to my age and limited professional support, my record keeping has not been what it was during my time as Town Manager in Marion and during my early years with the CMWRRDD.”
Pickles was the executive secretary for Marion for nearly 30 years until he retired in 2001.
He further stated in his response to the civil complaint, “I deny the alleged wrongdoing. I believe that all of my actions were taken in the best interests of the CMWRRDD.”
Pickles also served as the Town’s zoning enforcement officer some years back, and was also an elected member of the Board of Assessors until 2018 when he lost his reelection attempt amidst the controversy. He remains Marion’s elected town clerk, and his term does not expire until 2020.
The Board of Selectmen sent a letter to Pickles on April 2 asking him to resign in light of the Attorney General’s indictment. Outside the Brockton courthouse, The Wanderer asked Pickles if he was considering a resignation as requested by the selectmen.
“No comment,” said Pickles’ attorney, State Representative Chris Markey.
By Jean Perry