Federal authorities arrested and charged a retired Boston police captain on Tuesday with pocketing more than $12,395 in fraudulent overtime, escalating a yearslong probe into payroll abuse at the department’s evidence warehouse.
Richard Evans, 62, is the highest-ranking official to be indicted so far over allegations of payroll fraud at the Hyde Park warehouse where Boston police keep seized evidence. Evans previously ran the Evidence Control Unit’s warehouse and retired from the police force on Jan. 31, the city said.
He joins nine current and former officers who were arrested in September for allegedly collecting more than $200,000 in payments for overtime they never worked at the warehouse.
Evans, of Hanover, is charged with conspiracy to commit theft, embezzlement, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud. He was arrested early Tuesday at his home and appeared via videoconference Tuesday afternoon in US District Court in Boston, where he was released without bail. His arraignment on the six-count indictment is scheduled for next Thursday.
A 17-page indictment accuses Evans of claiming overtime pay for hours he never worked and approving fraudulent time slips for subordinates between March 2015 and early 2019. City payroll records show Evans earned $241,868 last year. He receives monthly retirement benefits of $12,112, according to the city.
Acting US Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in a statement that police supervisors are supposed to “lead by example and serve as models of honor, integrity and professionalism.”
“When they break the law for personal financial gain with the officers they supervise, they not only violate the trust of the public, but they dishonor their fellow officers,” he said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta of the Boston field office said Evans stands accused of “betraying the public’s trust.”
“It is deeply troubling when officers who have sworn to uphold the law violate their oath and use their badge as a license to commit a crime,” Bonavolonta said in a statement.
Evan’s lawyer, Eduardo Masferrer, said in a statement that his client served the city honorably for 30 years and looks forward to proving his innocence.
“He completely and unequivocally denies the charges against him,” Masferrer said.
In 2019, The Boston Globe reported that a federal grand jury had been investigating allegations of overtime fraud within the department’s evidence unit. At the time, a Boston police spokesman said three officers had been placed on administrative leave and an internal investigation had been launched.
In a released statement, Boston police Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long, suggested Evans’s alleged misconduct was an outlier, and noted that the department’s own anticorruption unit helped uncover the fraud.
“The allegations contained in this indictment by a senior law enforcement officer are not reflective of the conscientious hard-working members of the Boston Police Department,” Long said. “No police officer is above the law, today’s indictment sends a strong message that this conduct will not be tolerated or ignored.”
Hours after news of the indictment broke, Acting Mayor Kim Janey called the fraud allegations against Evans “disturbing,” and said she is committed to “uncovering and rooting out behavior among officers that is inconsistent with our community values.”
“Captain Evans oversaw the critically important evidence control unit, making these charges even more troubling,” she said. “Any fraud is unacceptable. It breaks public trust. It dishonors the thousands of officers who serve our communities every day with honesty, integrity, and bravery.”
Evans oversaw the evidence warehouse from at least March 2015 to at least April 2016, according to the indictment.
Officers assigned to the Evidence Control Unit could earn overtime pay by working “purge” shifts, which took place on weekdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and were aimed at managing and reducing inventory in the warehouse.
The indictment alleges records from the warehouse’s alarm system from March 2015 to February 2019 contradicted overtime claims by Evans and other officers. Records showed the building was closed, locked, and the alarm set at times when some members of the unit claimed to be working overtime.
The indictment follows an unrelated case of a former civilian BPD employee who was charged in January with collecting about $29,000 in fraudulent overtime payments between 2017 and 2018.
Marilyn Golisano, 68, a former clerk in the District A-1 Detectives Unit who handled overtime paperwork, submitted dozens of fraudulent overtime slips, forging the signatures of at least three different BPD supervisors, prosecutors have said.
Concerns about the use and allocation of overtime have been well documented, notably in 2015 when an audit commissioned by former mayor Martin J. Walsh found there appeared to be few mechanisms in place to monitor overtime spending and officers were routinely being paid for hours they didn’t work.
The Globe has reported that there have been no significant changes to the department’s overtime policy since the audit. Walsh did reallocate $12 million from the department’s overtime coffers to social services last summer. But since then, the department has faltered to control overtime costs, telling city councilors this month that it is projected to spend $15 million or more than what it had budgeted to pay officers for extra hours.
A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said Evans will be added to a database of officers accused of misconduct and prosecutors will work with defense attorneys to review what role he may have played in earlier prosecutions.
Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report.