Missing: Defense Attorney Unable To Get Seized Cash Back For Vindicated Clients

A Massachusetts defense attorney says he was unable to recover from the city of Springfield, $21,300 on behalf of two vindicated clients.

Attorney Vincent A. Bongiorni says he filed motions to compel return of property in one case for $1,323 police seized, after his client was acquitted of drug charges. He also says he filed motions for a client in another case seeking reimbursement of $20,000 taken by officers.

Bongiorni filed a motion Friday to force the return of the lesser amount.

“The Defendant has made repeated requests upon the Springfield Police Department for the return of his currency and has been told they have been unable to locate it,” Bongiorni’s motion reads. “The Defendant has now been deprived of his property for almost two years.”

Bongiorni says his other client, who had $20,000 seized during a criminal investigation, was reimbursed by a check from the department after filing similar motion.

“They did the intelligent thing and paid the money,” Bongiorni said, adding that he expects the same will happen for his second client.

Last week, Police Commissioner John Barbieri admitted that the city had conducted an audit of the police evidence room and discovered cash was missing.

The city has offered no explanation as to where the money might be and has refused to say how much has gone missing or what they believed may have happened.

Barbieri says the department has requested assistance from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and the city intends to hire an “outside expert” to investigate.

Officials say the evidence room audit is ‘ongoing’ and have admitted prosecutors were unable to produce the $1,300 amount as evidence to a jury during the case.

“We’re awaiting the results of the audit,” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said. “I’m not going to speculate or comment on the potential of what could happen. It’s been isolated to these two cases, as far as we know.”