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2 Former State Police Supervisors Charged in Alleged Fraud Scheme

In this March 12, 2019 file photo, Andrew Lelling, Massachusetts U.S. attorney, speaks during a news conference in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)
In this March 12, 2019 file photo, Andrew Lelling, Massachusetts U.S. attorney, speaks during a news conference in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)

Two former Massachusetts State Police troopers face fraud and theft charges in an alleged overtime scheme separate from the 2018 scandal that roiled the department.

Retired troopers Lt. Daniel Griffin and Sgt. William Robertson are accused of fraudulently collecting pay for overtime shifts they didn't work, including times they were supposed to be manning sobriety checkpoints. The shifts were paid with federal grant money for the State Police Traffic Programs Section. Griffin and Robertson were arrested Friday morning.

From 2015 through 2018, Griffin, Robertson, and other troopers “conspired to embezzle thousands of dollars in federally funded overtime by regularly arriving late to, and leaving early from, overtime shifts funded by grants intended to improve traffic safety," according to a statement from Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.

The troopers are also accused of trying to hide their misconduct by destroying pay records and claiming to their supervisors that the records were inadvertently misplaced.

“Today’s charges involve losses for the taxpayers, and also for the Massachusetts State Police, a premier law enforcement institution that must do a better job self-policing and eliminating this kind of misconduct,” Lelling wrote. “Everyone must be treated equally under the law, and we will keep doing these cases until this kind of abuse stops; abuse that is deeply unfair to the vast majority of law enforcement officers who are doing their job the right way, already under difficult circumstances.”

Griffin is also accused of hiding income from his private security business and underreporting his assets to get financial aid from the private school his children attended.

"Either internally at the state police they can take proactive steps to make sure their troopers aren't doing this, or I can do it."

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling

Friday's allegations of overtime fraud follow a 2018 scandal, when 46 troopers were found to have collected large sums for hours they never actually worked. That resulted in the disbandment of Troop E, a group of more than 100 troopers who primarily patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Speaking during a press conference Friday, Lelling said the two troopers charged Friday were supervisors, and that the state police must do more to address problems in its culture.

"For troopers to engage in this, they have to be operating in a culture where it seems OK to do it. That's the problem," Lelling said. "Removing that culture is how you mitigate this kind of problem in the future. We're going to keep doing these cases until this kind of behavior stops. Either internally at the state police they can take proactive steps to make sure their troopers aren't doing this, or I can do it."

In a statement, State Police Col. Christopher Mason said the department has taken steps to prevent misconduct, including improved training and internal investigations into some of the troopers named in Friday's indictment.

"The conduct as alleged is unacceptable and does not represent the standards and professionalism expected of Massachusetts State Troopers; the Department has already implemented a series of internal controls, training, and supervisory systems designed to prevent such behavior," Mason said.

The investigation is "active and ongoing," Lelling said, and his office is exploring whether other troopers were involved in the alleged scheme.

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Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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