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Former Boston police union boss charged in federal overtime fraud probe set to plead guilty

Thomas Nee (center) conferred with people outside the chambers after Boston City Council voted unanimously to approve the 25.4 percent salary increase for the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association in 2013.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The former president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association will plead guilty in connection to the overtime fraud scandal in the Police Department’s evidence unit, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Thomas Nee, 64, of Quincy, is charged with allegedly collecting more than $16,000 in overtime payments for hours he didn’t work between 2015 and 2017. He has agreed to plead guilty in US District Court in Boston to one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds.

A plea hearing hasn’t been set, and Nee, a retired officer who was head of the police union before leaving the post in 2014, is not in custody. Nee’s lawyer declined to comment, and a union spokesman had no immediate comment.

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Nee is the 15th Boston police officer to be charged in connection with the overtime probe at the evidence warehouse, prosecutors said. Nine officers have pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors allege that Nee, from at least January 2015 through February 2019, filed false overtime slips for hours he didn’t actually work at the department’s evidence warehouse in Hyde Park. The warehouse’s “purge” overtime shift ran from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and was meant for workers to dispose of old, unneeded evidence. “Kiosk” overtime involved driving to each city police district one Saturday a month to collect old prescription drugs to be destroyed.

Nee claimed to work until 8 p.m. on the “purge” shift, but he and other unit members often knocked off at 6 p.m. or earlier, prosecutors said. On the “kiosk” shift, Nee claimed to have worked 8½ hours when he and his colleagues actually only worked 3 to 4 hours, prosecutors said. As a result, Nee allegedly pocketed $16,642 for overtime hours he didn’t work between January 2015 and August 2017, prosecutors said.

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According to a plea deal filed in US District Court, Nee faces a maximum 15 years in prison, although prosecutors have agreed to recommend “incarceration at the low end” of the sentencing guidelines, $16,642 in restitution, and three years of supervised release.

Nee’s successor as union president, now-retired Boston police Officer Patrick M. Rose Sr., is currently awaiting trial on 33 counts of sexually abusing six children over a span of decades. Rose has pleaded not guilty.

Rose retired in 2018 and was no longer leading the union at the time of his arrest. His case became a high-profile controversy in April when a Boston Globe investigation found that police allowed him to remain on the force for two decades after an internal investigation concluded that he probably sexually abused a child in the 1990s.

He went on to allegedly abuse more children, resulting in the criminal charges, officials said.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.