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Colonel Mason announces discipline for 22 in Massachusetts State Trooper fraud investigation

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Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher S. Mason today announced disciplinary orders and recommendations for 22 former Troop E members against whom overtime fraud charges were sustained, including termination of one member, intention to terminate five others, and commensurate punishment and orders to pay restitution for 15 others.

According to Dave Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police, the 22 represent that portion of the overall number of members found to have submitted false payroll records or bills for overtime not actually worked who have remained with the Department. Twenty-four other members against whom charges were sustained were either already terminated following criminal convictions or retired while under investigation, an action the Department cannot prevent.

On Monday, July 7 the Department terminated a Trooper against whom charges were sustained by the Department and upheld by a Department Trial Board. Notice of the sustained charge and termination were provided to the Office of the Inspector General, Division of State Police Oversight for potential civil proceeding to recoup any identified taxpayer losses.

Five other Troopers have Trial Boards currently scheduled and the Department continues to move toward likely termination of employment if the charges are sustained by the Board.

Fifteen of the remaining 16 Troopers were issued punishment of suspension without pay for various lengths of time, ranging from 841 days to 60 days. Three of those members have been credited for varying amounts of time served for time already spent many months suspended without pay since the Department uncovered their transgressions in 2018.

The discipline was codified in Personnel Orders issued today. In each case the punishment was coupled with a stipulation that they pay full restitution of the amount they were found to have stolen; be reduced in seniority; be removed from any promotional list they may currently be on; not be eligible for programmed overtime for a two-year period; complete all mandatory time and attendance remedial training; and waive all rights to either Civil Service or court appeal. The severity of the suspensions without pay is commensurate with the amount of hours for which they fraudulently accepted overtime pay and the agreement for discipline short of termination was based on an assessment of the evidence against each member, a determination that certainty of punishment and restitution through their stipulations was preferred, and a desire to ensure they forfeited any rights of appeal to Civil Service or the court system.

Restitution amounts the suspended members agreed to pay range from $15,901.89 to $2,941.32.

Those disciplined include:

Trooper John Adams;
Trooper David Perrault;
Trooper Jeffrey Reger;
Trooper Jeffrey Russell;
Trooper Anthony Bozko;
Trooper Mark Augusta;
Trooper Kevin Fogwill;
Sergeant George Hamilton;
Trooper Christopher Brown;
Trooper David Berra;
Trooper George Beaupre;
Trooper Gerald Johnson;
Sergeant Arthur Hebb;
Trooper Michael Thorpe;
and Trooper Robert Church.

Additionally, one Trooper was alleged to have improperly billed for a total of four overtime hours. The MSP Internal Affairs investigation revealed that the payroll entry was an administrative error and improperly documented. The Trooper was issued a Supervisory Observation Letter through the Employee Evaluation System.

On January 31, 2020 Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason held a press conference at State Police headquarters in Framingham, during which he updated the public and press on the status of the disciplinary process involving former members of Troop E.

The initial MSP audit of Troop E revealed that 46 Department members, over a three year period from 2015-2017, had potentially submitted false payroll records or bills for overtime not actually worked. Ten of those members were criminally charged by either the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office or the United States Attorney’s Office. Of those 10, all have been convicted, and one still awaits sentencing. Those convictions have all been shared by the MSP with the Massachusetts State Retirement Board for pension forfeiture consideration.

Fourteen of the remaining 36 members had retired before or shortly after the MSP internal investigation cases were opened in March 2018. Colonel Mason announced that those administrative internal investigations were now completed and all 14 individual cases resulted in sustained charges. Those cases had already been referred to the State Retirement Board for pension forfeiture consideration. Those cases were also provided to the Office of the Inspector General, Division of State Police Oversight, for potential civil proceedings to recoup any identified taxpayer losses.

At that time, Colonel Mason also announced that the remaining 22 former members of the Troop E had been issued letters by the Department, indicating to them the Department’s intention to pursue termination of their employment with the Massachusetts State Police but acknowledging that because of the reasons stated above — the assessment of the evidence couple with a desire to achieve certainty of punishment, restitution, and no appellate rights — not all would likely be terminated. That assessment also considered that supervisors in the former Troop E failed to enforce rules that would have stopped the fraudulent earning scheme.

Colonel Mason in January stated that those letters signaled the start of the disciplinary process against each member and that he would seek full restitution from each member and that he anticipated that a number of the officers would be terminated as a result of the process.

On March, 24, 2020 the Department issued one of those members a Medical-General Retirement. The Department cannot prevent a member from exercising their right to retire, only the conditions of that retirement; in this case, less than honorable. That Trooper’s case will also be provided to the Office of the Inspector General, Division of State Police Oversight for potential civil proceeding to recoup any identified taxpayer losses.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jake Perry

    July 11, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Greedy pigs.

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