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Judge rules former state trooper convicted of overtime fraud should not forfeit $1 million pension

Former State Police lieutenants John T. Giulino (wearing glasses) and David Keefe during their arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on Oct. 12, 2018.John R. Ellement

A former Massachusetts state trooper who pleaded guilty to charges of committing overtime fraud and lost his $1 million pension as a result may see those funds returned after a Pittsfield District Court judge overturned the State Retirement Board’s forfeiture order last week.

John Giulino, 73, was convicted in 2019 amid a high-profile overtime fraud scandal that implicated dozens of members of the State Police and brought intense scrutiny to the state’s largest law enforcement agency.

In addition to his sentence of two years probation, 100 hours of community service, and an order to pay back the more than $29,000 he stole in overtime hours he did not work, the State Retirement Board ordered Giulino to forfeit his pension, which is worth $1.06 million, according to court records.


But last Wednesday, Judge Mark J. Pasquariello ruled that the loss of pension is a violation of Giulino’s constitutional rights to protection from excessive fines under the Eighth Amendment.

“The [State Retirement Board’s] determination ordering forfeiture of the plaintiff’s 1.06 million pension was grossly disproportionate to the gravity of the offenses to which he pled guilty,” Pasquariello wrote in his ruling.

Pasquariello wrote that Giulino has met the terms of his sentence but is now unemployable, largely due to his criminal convictions and health conditions, and has “virtually no income of his own.”

Timothy M. Burke, Giulino’s attorney, said the judge had thoroughly reviewed his client’s work history and financial status before making his ruling.

“Regardless of whether it is a popular decision, it is a courageous decision because it is the application of the law to established facts under both the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights and the US Constitution,” Burke said in a statement. “In several recent Massachusetts cases the Appeals and SJC have also questioned the ‘all or nothing’ approach to pension forfeiture cases and suggested that the Legislature review the status of the current law.”


The State Retirement Board said it is “still considering all available options” in response to the ruling.

“The State Retirement Board takes the protection and responsibility of the State Employees Retirement System and its trust very seriously,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Giulino was a lieutenant and head of the Westfield Barracks in 2015 and 2016 when he committed the fraud and collected more than $210,000 in total pay, including more than $50,000 in overtime, according to previous Globe reports.

In total, Giulino submitted time sheets for 85 four-hour shifts that he did not work, resulting in about $29,000 in fraudulent overtime wages, according to court records.

Giulino retired in fall 2017, ending his 42-year career with the force, just days after an investigative report by WCVB-TV that uncovered potential overtime fraud by him and his colleagues.

Giulino collected a one-time $59,000 buyout for unused accrued sick and vacation time and was collecting an $89,887-a-year pension, the Globe reported.

In 2019, Giulino pleaded guilty to a six-count indictment charging him with two counts of making a false claim to a public employer, two counts of larceny over $250, and two counts of procurement by fraud.

Pasquariello wrote that Giulino and his wife sold their house in Lanesborough shortly after his conviction in 2019 but realized “little, if any, profit” after paying off two mortgage liens worth a total of $283,000. They then moved to Virginia, where they live in a one-bedroom apartment above their daughter’s three-car garage and pay about $800 in rent, Pasquariello wrote.


The judge said Giulino suffers health issues and is in need of a knee replacement. Their 2022 tax return showed the couple had combined wages of about $17,600, most of it earned by his wife, who was working in a nursing facility during the day and a bakery in the evening, according to court documents.

“At the age of 72, he has virtually no income of his own and relies almost entirely upon his wife and his family for support,” the judge wrote.

Messages were sent to State Police and the attorney general’s office Monday night seeking comment.

Material from previous Globe stories was used in this report.

Nick Stoico can be reached at Follow him @NickStoico.