BOSTON – Three recently suspended or retired Massachusetts State Police troopers were on Wednesday arrested and charged with taking thousands of dollars of overtime pay for the hours they are not working by the submission of false traffic citations to hide the fact that they are actually out of the clock.
The Procurator of the s. S. Andrew Lelling called the arrests the beginning of the desk research to the question of whether overtime abuse is a systemic problem in the federal police. State police have told prosecutors that about 40 employees had apparent discrepancies between pay received and hours worked in 2016, but the three troopers are the only ones so far to face criminal prosecution.
“These troopers are selfish compromised, the reputation and the badge worn proudly by so many other hard-working members of the Massachusetts State Police, that their lives on the line for us all every day,” Hank Shaw, FBI special agent in charge of the Boston Field Division, told reporters.
Paul Cesan, 50, Gary Herman, 45, and David Wilson, 57, were arrested in their homes just after dawn and accused of misappropriation of an agency to receive federal funds. They were expected to appear in court later Wednesday, and it was not immediately clear if they have lawyers.
The troopers were members of the now defunct Troop E, which patrols the 138 miles (220 km) Massachusetts Turnpike from Boston to New York border.
Officials say that the men in for overtime for shifts they are an hour early or not work at all in 2016. For example, Cesan the cruiser radio to suggest he was not the operation of the vehicle — the entire time that he claimed to work overtime, a shift of that year, court records say.
Officials say the troopers changed the data of real traffic citations or submitted quotes that never really happened so it looks as if they are already the whole time. Court records say that the police paid Cesan more than $29,000 in fraudulent overtime, while Herman and Wilson both received approximately $12,500.
Wilson, a former lieutenant, was an officer in the costs of overtime shifts before he retired in March. Cesan also retired that month, and Herman is currently suspended.
Revelations of the potential overtime abuse within Troop E led officials to disband the unit and to the body cameras for state troopers and vehicle GPS locators in police cars, among other changes. State Police say they now have more controls for overtime and shift work, and conducting regular audits of high earners.
“We fully stand behind and will continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation being conducted by the U.S. Attorney and the state Attorney General,” State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin said in a statement.
The scandal is one of the many who flooded the police in the past few months.
A payroll manager pleaded guilty on Monday to stealing more than $23,000 of the agency by means of false travel reimbursements.
And last fall, the power of the superintendent, Col. Richard McKeon, abruptly retired after a trooper and a lawsuit alleged that McKeon ordered him to scrub embarrassing details of the process-verbal of the court to his daughter.
Attorney General Maura Healey said in April that McKeon and others is not a criminal charge for the modified with the police, but they referred the matter to the State Ethics Commission.
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