Former Mass. police chief to face two trials

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A judge ruled on Tuesday that a former Lee, Massachusetts police chief will face two separate trials.

Ex-Lee Police Chief Joseph Buffis has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 from a holiday toy fund and cheating the town into paying for his family’s cellphone service.

The judge ruled the evidence in the cases to be substantially different warranting separate trials.

Federal prosecutors allege that from January 1999 through December 2012, Buffis diverted $120,000 from the Edward J. Laliberte Toy Fund for purchases at stores and a restaurant and to pay credit card bills and loans.

Buffis also allegedly added three phones to the town’s plan for his wife and two children but said they were for police use.

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