Three Massachusetts State Police troopers were arrested this week and charged for their alleged role in a massive federal theft scam, culminating in the officer’s stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional pay stemming primarily from fallacious overtime records.
Federal prosecutors allege that David Wilson, Gary Herman and Paul Cesan — all members of the since disbanded ‘Troop E’ — allegedly racked up the overtime pay by filing false reports of their hours worked, when in several instances they either never worked to begin with or clocked out early while claiming they stayed late, local NBC News affiliate Channel 10, Boston reports.
The charges, which include embezzlement of federal funds, come amid a Statewide probe conducted earlier this year that looked into their alleged conduct going as far back as 2016. Cesan and Wilson, who have since resigned from their posts amid the revelations, are accused of embezzling at least $29,000 and $12,450, respectively — while Herman, who’s since been suspended amid the investigation, is accused of stealing $12,468, records show.
Prosecutors noted that Wilson, who was the “officer-in-charge” of several overtime shifts, claimed that he logged as many as 170 overtime shifts in 2016 — equating to around $68,000 in overtime pay — when in fact he rightfully earned around $12,450 in overtime pay.
A Statewide probe into pay records of law enforcement personnel revealed that the troopers issued tickets to unsuspecting citizens, but instead of following protocol they allegedly forged the time on citations to make it appear as if they were working late, when in fact they had already clocked out in most cases.
“They altered citations they had given out to make them appear as though they were given during overtime hours, or in some cases they (prosecutors) allege, they made up tickets that were never actually even issued,” according to Channel 10’s report.
Cesan, Wilson and Herman are just three officers affiliated with the infamous ‘Troop E’ — a since-disbanded group of 21 officers who’d been helping themselves to thousands of dollars in overtime pay, the 2016 audit of State trooper salaries revealed.
Upon the discovery of misconduct, preventive measures — including the installation of in-cabin GPS tracking equipment — were instated to “better track their whereabouts,” the station reported.
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According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary of a Massachusetts State trooper is $97,000 as of June 2018 — but Wilson, according to the report, took home as much as $240,000 in 2016. Cesan and Herman’s salaries for that year were not revealed, but according to U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, speaking at a press conference following the bombshell revelations, noted that additional charges are almost certain to ensue.
“Let me be clear that today’s charges are the beginning and not the end of this federal investigation,” Lelling said, adding that “There will be ongoing federal enforcement in this area aimed at determining whether this is a systemic problem within the State Police and if it is, Taking steps to fix it.”
The officers were arrested on Wednesday and have so far been charged with embezzlement and “theft from an agency receiving government funds.” It’s unclear if they have attorneys.
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