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More trouble for ‘master thief’, as ‘stolen valor’ charges, injunction issued

Stolen Valor (US Marines/Released)

Days after a Bristol County judge sent him back to prison for violating his probation, there’s more trouble for the self-proclaimed “master thief” who has been running a business that claims to raise money for homeless veterans.

A Lynn District Court clerk magistrate on Tuesday found probable cause to issue a new criminal complaint charging Sean D. Murphy with violating the state’s stolen valor law by dressing in camouflage and collecting donations outside a Whole Foods in Swampscott in 2021.

Swampscott police filed an application for charges under the stolen valor act shortly after they received their report, but for a number of reasons, a clerk magistrate’s “show cause” hearing was repeatedly postponed.

The law bars individuals from obtaining money, property or any other tangible benefit by posing as an active duty member or veteran of the military, by wearing military regalia, gear or uniforms or by using falsified military identification. A violation carries up to one year in jail.

Murphy’s attorney in that matter, Frank Sanchez, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

And on Monday, a Suffolk County Superior Court judge issued an injunction barring Murphy and his longtime companion Rikkile Brown from operating both their political petitioning business and a nonprofit they dubbed “Help Homeless Veterans.”

Murphy, 58, who grew up in Lynn, has spent most of his adult life in trouble with the law for crimes such as burglary and theft — including some high-profile cases including a conviction for a break-in at the Attleboro jewelry manufacturer that makes Super Bowl rings. That’s one of the reasons local veterans officials became suspicious of Murphy’s recent efforts.

Murphy said in an interview that while he can see why people might be suspicious given his past, the new activities were on the level. He and Brown, who are representing themselves in that matter, also told a judge they thought they had completed the proper paperwork via an online firm called “LegalZoom.”

The Attorney General’s office said Murphy and Brown did contribute $343 from donations collected outside supermarkets to a national homeless veterans group, but believes that’s just a small fraction of what was collected, and that they had not properly registered or reported to the AG’s Charities Division.

Judge James Budreau issued an order, entered in the court file Monday, granting an injunction that will prohibit the pair from engaging in their fundraising or signature collection.

The judge found that the AG had demonstrated that it “will likely succeed on the merits of its claims, and (Murphy and Brown’s) conduct, which is a statutory violation, if continued, would have an adverse impact on the public interests.”


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