BOSTON – A former Boston Police Officer pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston in connection with committing over $20,000 in overtime fraud at the Boston Police Department’s (BPD) evidence warehouse.
Officer James Carnes (retired), 57, of Canton, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for Sept. 10, 2021.
In September 2020, Carnes and eight other Boston Police Officers were arrested and charged for their roles in an overtime fraud scheme that is alleged to have collectively embezzled over $200,000 between May 2016 and February 2019.
Carnes admitted that between July 2016 and February 2019, he submitted false and fraudulent overtime slips for overtime hours that he did not work for two overtime shifts at the evidence warehouse. The first, called “purge” overtime, was a 4-8 p.m. weekday shift intended to dispose of old, unneeded evidence. The second shift, called “kiosk” overtime, involved driving to each police district in Boston one Saturday a month to collect old prescription drugs to be burned.
For the “purge” shift, Carnes admitted that while he had claimed to have worked from 4-8 p.m., he and, allegedly, the other members of his unit routinely left at 6 p.m., or earlier. For the kiosk shift, Carnes admitted that while he and other members submitted overtime slips claiming to have worked eight-and-one-half hours, he and, allegedly, other members of the unit only worked three to four hours of those shifts.
From 2016 through 2018, BPD received annual benefits from the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Justice in excess of $10,000, which were funded pursuant to numerous federal grants.
The charge of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Russell W. Cunningham, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Washington Field Office; and Boston Police Acting Commissioner Gregory Long made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Mendell’s Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting the case.