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Former Boston police sergeant pleads guilty to overtime fraud

A former Boston police sergeant pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling $9,223 as part of an ongoing investigation into overtime fraud at the department’s evidence warehouse, officials said.

William Baxter, 62, of Hyde Park pleaded 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.

Baxter is one of 14 officers charged in connection with the scheme and the seventh to plead guilty. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21, according to the statement.

Between March 2015 and June 2016, Baxter submitted fraudulent overtime slips for hours he did not work during two types of overtime shifts at the evidence warehouse, the statement said.

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The first, called “purge” overtime shifts, involved removing old, unneeded evidence from the warehouse. Baxter routinely left work at 6 p.m. or earlier but claimed to have worked the full shift, from 4 to 8 p.m. He also knowingly endorsed fraudulent overtime slips from other officers accused of leaving early, prosecutors said.

“Kiosk” overtime shifts took place one Saturday a month and required officers to collect and destroy prescription drugs held in kiosks in each of Boston’s police districts. Baxter submitted overtime slips for 8 1/2 hours but often worked only three to four hours on those shifts, prosecutors said.

For the embezzlement charge, Baxter 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, he faces up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, according to prosecutors.

An eighth former officer, Craig Smalls, is scheduled to plead guilty on July 1, the statement said.

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