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Ex-State Police trooper indicted by federal grand jury in overtime fraud scandal

(JESSICA RINALDI/GLOBE STAFF/FILE)

A former Massachusetts State Police trooper was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday for allegedly collecting thousands of dollars in overtime pay for shifts he didn’t work.

Daren DeJong, 56, of Uxbridge pleaded not guilty. He had initially been charged with embezzlement in late July as part of the federal investigation into the overtime scandal.

Prosecutors alleged DeJong collected $14,000 in 2016 from shifts he either left early from or did not show up for at all. That year, he was paid $200,416, including $68,394 in overtime.

The embezzlement charge carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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His lawyer, Brad Bailey, said DeJong has been a “dedicated public servant” for more than 30 years, including 26 with the State Police.

“He’s obviously looking forward to the appropriate time and place to set the record straight and to clear his name of charges he adamantly denies,” Bailey said. “I urge folks not to rush to or form any judgments on the basis of a return of an indictment.”

DeJong retired in March after the department said it found evidence that he and other troopers had allegedly clocked in for hours they never worked and wrote phony traffic citations to make it appear they had.

In all, such evidence against 46 current and former troopers has been turned over to federal and state prosecutors as the department conducts an internal audit of its payroll records.

Six of the troopers, including DeJong, face federal charges. Two have pleaded guilty, agreeing to serve time in prison and pay back money they stole. The agency has announced a slate of reforms to address the alleged fraud and a series of other controversies that surfaced over the past year.

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Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.