The former head of a State Police barracks was allegedly cruising in Bermuda when he claimed to be working in the summer of 2018, just weeks after the high-profile arrests of his colleagues over their own pay fraud scheme, prosecutors said in a court filing.
Ex-lieutenant David Andrade, 47, of Westport, was arraigned in Bristol Superior Court Friday on charges he collected more than $11,500 worth of paid time off he was not entitled to, court records show. A plea of not guilty was entered and Andrade was released on personal recognizance.
Prosecutors from state Attorney General Maura Healey’s office allege that Andrade — while in charge of the Troop D Dartmouth barracks — took days off and submitted claims for 22 holiday compensatory days that he never accrued.
One of the dates Andrade allegedly claimed to be working was Aug. 21, 2018, prosecutors said.
“Investigation revealed that the defendant was actually in the middle of a cruise to Bermuda and could not have been at work,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
“It is unfortunate and unacceptable that these allegations exist," Superintendent Christopher Mason, the head of the State Police said in a statement. “All Massachusetts State Police members, particularly supervisors, are held to a high standard of conduct.”
“I am grateful to the MSP supervisors that uncovered and immediately reported this alleged activity and I thank the MSP personnel who conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and the Attorney General’s Office for prosecuting the case,” Mason continued. "This should serve as a clear signal to those we serve that we will not tolerate criminal activity and will pursue criminal charges when appropriate.”
Weeks earlier, in late June 2018, FBI agents began showing up at the homes of several State Police troopers and supervisors to arrest them for allegedly collecting overtime pay for hours they had never worked while falsifying documents to cover up their absences from work.
That high-profile scandal centered on Troop E and led the department to disband that unit, which primarily patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike. The tally of troopers implicated for overtime fraud grew to 46 just days before Andrade allegedly claimed to be working while actually cruising.
Andrade allegedly continued his scheme for months as state and federal probes into the overtime abuse led to criminal convictions, landing some troopers in prison and prompting the state to move to strip pensions.
Prosecutors said Andrade’s scheme was detected in August 2019. Officials in Healey’s office have said they began their investigation after State Police suspected misconduct and referred the matter to them.
“In an effort to cover up what he was doing, Andrade allegedly falsified entries on his attendance calendars to make it appear that he was actually working on days that he had taken off,” Healey’s office has said.
Andrade, who collected $192,348 in pay including $16,594 in overtime in 2018, retired in mid-August at about the same time he came under investigation. He is collecting an $87,126-a-year pension. His career with the agency began in 1996, according to a copy of his retirement application.
His next court hearing was scheduled for March 19. Andrade’s attorney did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment Monday.
When Andrade was indicted by a grand jury last month, State Police said his case had prompted an internal audit of holiday-related pay entries of supervisors holding similar positions, and another member from a different troop was under internal investigation and may be referred for criminal prosecution. That case involved a different type of holiday pay discrepancy.
In response, State Police have said they have instituted an explicit requirement that payroll entries can only be approved by a person of equal or higher rank and is moving to replace paper-based timekeeping with a fully electronic time and attendance record-keeping system that will have features to prevent such abuse.
Earlier this month, Governor Charlie Baker and State Police Colonel Christopher Mason announced a series of policy changes and proposals to supplement a previous set of reforms launched in the spring of 2018. The efforts take aim at corruption and cultural problems that have plagued the State Police force for years and include a proposal to allow state and municipal agencies to recover triple damages from police officers who knowingly submit false claims for hours worked.