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Ex-State Police lieutenant pleads guilty to OT abuse charges, sentenced to two years probation

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/file

A former Massachusetts State Police barracks commander pleaded guilty Monday to collecting more than $29,000 worth of overtime pay for hours he never worked over a two-year span, state prosecutors said.

John Giulino, 69, of Lanesborough, was sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court by Associate Justice Michael P. Doolin to two years of probation and ordered to pay back the money he stole and perform 100 hours of community service, according to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which prosecuted the case.

Giulino is the ninth member of State Police to plead guilty to criminal charges stemming from a high-profile overtime fraud scandal that has implicated a total of 46 members of the state’s largest law enforcement agency — exposing systemic problems and badly eroding public trust.

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Troopers and supervisors allegedly collected overtime pay for hours they had never worked while falsifying documents to cover up their absences from work, state and federal prosecutors have said.

Attorney Timothy M. Burke said Giulino “has accepted responsibility for his actions.”

“The penalty imposed is consistent with that of other individuals who were charged in similar circumstances in federal court,” Burke said, referencing how most of those convicted in the scandal have avoided prison time.

Healey’s office said it had recommended Giulino be sentenced to 1 to 2 years in prison in addition to the sentence Doolin handed down.

State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said in a statement Giulino’s case was among dozens that the department referred to prosecutors following an internal audit of overtime pay discrepancies.

“I am grateful to the State Police personnel who developed the evidence in this and related cases. I also thank the Attorney General for prosecuting this case,” Mason said. “The defendant’s conduct does not reflect the overwhelming majority of troopers who serve the public with honesty, integrity, and professionalism; this and related cases clearly signal to the public and our members that we will investigate, identify, and seek accountability for criminal conduct.”

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Giulino was the head of the Westfield barracks during 2015 and 2016, when he committed the fraud.

During each of those years, he collected more than $210,000 in total pay, including more than $50,000 in overtime.

Giulino retired from the force in the fall of 2017, just days after an investigative report by WCVB-TV uncovered potential overtime fraud by him and his colleagues. He collected a one-time $59,000 buyout for unused accrued sick and vacation time and is now collecting an $89,887-a-year pension. He was indicted by a grand jury last year.

Healey’s office has brought overtime abuse charges in Suffolk Superior Court against two other former State Police lieutenants. Those cases are pending; one is against a lieutenant who already pleaded guilty to similar charges in federal court.

Over the summer, a Suffolk County grand jury began receiving materials and testimony about an investigation into overtime fraud by another member of the department, according to court filings. That case has not yet resulted in any charges.

Years before the overtime fraud became public, department leaders encountered a host of warning signs, but there is little evidence they acted to address them. At various stages of internal and criminal probes into the overtime fraud, State Police officials destroyed and lost track of records that could have exposed additional wrongdoing.

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Some pledges by Governor Charlie Baker, lawmakers, and State Police leadership to reform the agency remain unfinished and significantly overdue. The rest of the changes, including the disbanding of the unit where the overtime fraud was discovered, have failed to slow a drumbeat of controversy at the agency.

Last week, the former head of the State Police barracks in Dartmouth was indicted by Healey’s office for a different alleged fraud scheme in which he collected more than $11,500 worth of paid time off he was not entitled to. That official allegedly carried out the scheme in the months after colleagues came under scrutiny and were arrested in connection with the overtime fraud.

That case prompted a department payroll audit. Now, an additional member from a different troop is under internal investigation and may be referred for criminal prosecution. That case involved yet another type of pay discrepancy.