A former Boston police sergeant and a current officer separately agreed to plead guilty to charges they face in connection with an ongoing investigation of overtime fraud at the department’s evidence warehouse, officials said Thursday.
George Finch, 59, of Franklin, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds, the US attorney’s office for Massachusetts said in a statement.
Finch allegedly collected about $11,310 between March 2015 and September 2016 for overtime hours he did not work, prosecutors said. He will appear in federal court in Boston via videoconference at a later date, according to the statement. He is the 11th person to face charges arising out of the investigation of the evidence warehouse, authorities said.
Officer Michael Murphy, 61, of Hyde Park, will also plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds, the US attorney’s office said in a separate statement. A plea hearing for Murphy has not been scheduled.
Murphy allegedly collected about $16,000 between September 2016 and February 2019 for overtime hours he did not work, prosecutors said. He was one of nine Boston officers arrested in September for their roles in the scheme, which allegedly embezzled more than $250,000 from Boston police between May 2016 and February 2019, according to prosecutors.
Boston police received annual grant funding of more than $10,000 between 2015 and 2019 from the Departments of Justice and Transportation, according to the statements.
Members of the Evidence Control Unit were responsible for storing, cataloging, and retrieving evidence at the warehouse and were eligible for overtime pay of 1½ times their regular hourly rate, prosecutors said. Beginning in at least March 2015, members of the unit regularly left overtime shifts two or more hours early while submitting fraudulent overtime slips, according to authorities.
So-called purge overtime shifts were focused on removing old, unneeded evidence from the warehouse and were supposed to take place on weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m., prosecutors said. But the warehouse was often closed and locked long before 8 p.m., sometimes as early as 6 p.m., on days that Finch, Murphy, and other members of the unit claimed to have worked until the end of the shift, according to the statements.
“Kiosk” shifts involved collecting and destroying prescription drugs held in kiosks in each of Boston’s police districts and were scheduled for one Saturday each month. On those shifts, Finch, Murphy, and other officers routinely claimed to have worked 8½ hours despite having finished early, often within four hours, prosecutors said.
For the embezzlement charge, each man faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain. For the conspiracy charge, they each face a possible sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, according to prosecutors.