6 things to know about the trooper overtime fraud case
The first three criminal cases of state trooper overtime fraud were announced Wednesday, as the scandal that has enveloped the State Police deepened. Here are six things to know about what’s happening:
■ Who was arrested?
Retired troopers David W. Wilson, 57, of Charlton and Paul E. Cesan, 50, of Southwick and suspended trooper Gary S. Herman, 45, of Chester were arrested. All three were members of the now-disbanded Troop E.
■ What did they allegedly do?
They are charged with allegedly pocketing tens of thousands of dollars for overtime hours they didn’t work in 2016. Wilson allegedly overcharged by about $12,450, Cesan about $29,000, and Herman about $12,500. All three allegedly collected overtime pay for hours they either didn’t work at all, or for shifts in which they departed one to seven hours early, according to prosecutors and court filings.
■ Who is bringing the case, and what is the charge?
The FBI investigated, and the US attorney’s office in Boston is prosecuting. All three men have been charged with embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. The State Police receive funding from the US Department of Transportation.
■ How were they caught?
The affidavits in support of the criminal charges against the men mention interviews with current and former state troopers. But the affidavits focus on evidence from various records, particularly from the troopers’ cruiser radios, which sign on and off when the cruisers are turned on and off. The radio and other records allegedly prove the troopers’ cruisers were turned off at times that the men claimed they were busy patrolling the state’s highways.
■ Is this just the tip of the iceberg?
“Let me be clear that today’s charges are the beginning and not the end of this federal investigation,” US Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a news conference Thursday. Lelling said investigators plan to look back “as far as we can, a number of years.” He also said it was possible it could be “a systemic problem in the State Police.” Hank Shaw, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said the investigation “will continue until we are confident we’ve identified everyone involved in scamming the system and jeopardizing the public safety.” State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin said overtime audits continued and results were being provided to prosecutors for review for “potential criminality.” She said the agency would continue to cooperate with investigators.
■ Was this announcement a surprise?
The Globe reported earlier this month that a federal grand jury was investigating possible overtime fraud. Dozens of current and former Troop E members have been linked in recent months to the alleged pay scandal, resulting in a widescale audit, a series of internal State Police investigations, a separate probe by the attorney general’s office, and the disbanding of the entire unit. Several scandals have rocked the agency since the fall of 2016, and questions about overtime have been raised since at least March 2017.
Travis Andersen and Shelley Murphy of the Globe staff contributed to this report.