December 26, 2017

Government can sell Worcester restaurants connected to drug scheme

Grant Welker
The Chameleon restaurant on Shrewsbury street has been closed for several weeks. The space can now be seized and sold by the government.

A federal judge has allowed the government to take control of and sell properties - including the Chameleon and Blackstone Tap buildings in Worcester - owned by Kevin Perry, Jr. a former restaurateur and businessman set to serve at least 14 years in prison for drug and money laundering offenses

U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman's Friday ruling allows the government to take control of and sell 12 properties, including the Chameleon building at 166 Shrewsbury St. and the Blackstone Tap at 81 Water St.

The Chameleon closed abruptly in November. The space, formerly The Usual, was reopened under that name after Perry was indicted in March.

Other properties to be seized and sold are the Worcester residential properties 50 Gibbs St., Unit 6, 25 Andover St., Unit S-1, 193 Hamilton St., 119 Heywood St., 56 Copperfield Road, and five Millbury properties.

Hillman's ruling comes just two days after a joint motion filed by both U.S. Assistant U.S. District Attorney Doreen Rachal and Perry's lawyer James Budreau.

Perry in October entered a guilty plea in court filings and agreed to a 14- to 16-year prison sentence.

Perry, a 43-year-old Worcester resident, was arrested in March and charged with nine counts of money laundering, three counts of aggravated cash structuring, one count of making a false statement on a loan application and one count of distribution of fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.

The U.S. alleged used more than $1 million he made from selling steroids, cocaine and fentanyl from April 2012 to October 2016 to buy and renovate nine properties in Worcester County, including The Blackstone Tap and The Usual.

In 2005, he was convicted in federal court in Massachusetts of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute MDMA, or ecstasy, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He was sentenced to time in prison.

When he was released in 2008, he began making and selling the drugs to fund his Worcester County businesses. During his supervised release between 2008 and 2014, the only employment he reported to the U.S. Probation Office and IRS was as a fitness trainer earning about $4,800 a month.

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