In the ongoing Massachusetts State Police pay abuse scandal, an eighth trooper has been arrested on federal charges that he embezzled money by collecting overtime pay for hours that he did not work, the U.S. attorney's office announced Wednesday.
Two previously charged troopers also agreed to plead guilty in their overtime abuse cases, prosecutors said in a statement.
8th Trooper Charged
Forty-year-old Heath McAuliffe, of Hopkinton, will appear in federal court in Boston on Wednesday, the statement said. McAuliffe was assigned to Troop E, which was disbanded by the state police earlier this year after several overtime scandals connected to the barracks were revealed.
The allegations against McAuliffe stem from overtime pay he received through his participation in the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort [AIRE] program. The program, prosecutors said, was "intended to reduce accidents, crashes, and injuries on I-90 through an enhanced presence of MSP Troopers and targeting vehicles traveling at excessive speeds."
Here is how much money McAuliffe received in AIRE overtime he did not work, as well as his overall pay and overtime earnings, according to the U.S. attorney's office:
- Between Aug. 31, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2016, he was paid $9,825 for AIRE overtime he did not work
- In 2016, his overall pay was $164,680; about $60,908 of that sum in overtime pay
- In 2015, he earned $180,215; about $83,496 of that sum in overtime pay
7 Troopers Pleaded Guilty Or Agreed To Guilty Pleas
Troopers David Wilson, 58, of Charlton, and Daren DeJong, 57, of Uxbridge, both agreed to plead guilty in plea deals filed Wednesday, the U.S. attorney's office also announced in the statement. That brings the total number of troopers who have pleaded guilty or agreed to a guilty plea to seven.
The fifth and latest trooper to plead guilty in the overtime scandal is Eric Chin, 46, of Hanover. He pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds, prosecutors said in a statement.
As part of the plea deal, prosecutors are recommending Chin receive a prison sentence of between six and 12 months, the statement said. The maximum sentence for a charge of theft of government funds is 10 years in prison.
Public outrage over the allegations of misconduct against troopers began in late March, and top state officials within the agency, as well as Gov. Charlie Baker, soon after promised sweeping reforms. Among those changes is a mandate that state police cruisers be outfitted with GPS-trackers.
This article was originally published on December 12, 2018.