Former State Police trooper sentenced to three months in prison in overtime scandal
Retired Massachusetts State Police trooper Gregory Raftery delivered a tearful apology Tuesday for his role in an overtime fraud scandal before being sentenced to three months in prison, making him the first defendant to face incarceration over the scheme tied to the now-disbanded Troop E.
Raftery, 48, a Westwood resident, must report to prison on April 9. It was unclear where he will serve his sentence, but Raftery requested through his attorney to be assigned to the federal prison in Devens.
Raftery cried as he apologized for his conduct before US District Court Judge William G. Young, becoming so emotional that sometimes his words were difficult to decipher.
“I know what I did was wrong and I’m truly sorry,” said Raftery, who also apologized to fellow police officers, the public, his family, and friends.
He was the first defendant to plead guilty in the overtime fraud scandal, admitting to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. Young ordered him to pay $51,337, which represents the money Raftery collected for overtime shifts he did not work. After leaving prison, he must complete 12 months of supervised release.
“After the most careful reflection, I’ve got to send you to jail,” Young said. “The crime here is so extensive, so sophisticated, and motivated by nothing but greed. It is the view of this court that you must spend a short period in prison.”
Federal prosecutors had recommended Raftery serve six months in prison. In pushing for that sentence, Assistant US Attorney Mark Grady said prosecutors weighed the crime against Raftery’s accomplishments as a law enforcement officer, record of community service, and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable causes.
Specifics of the community service weren’t detailed in court. Raftery and his attorney, Thomas J. Butters, declined to speak with reporters after the hearing.
Raftery graduated from the State Police Academy in November 1996 and retired last year, said David Procopio, a State Police spokesman.
Raftery collected more than $219,000 in 2016, including $87,607 in overtime. He made more than $202,000 in 2015, including $82,514 in overtime, records show.
From 2012 to 2017, Raftery was assigned to Troop E, which patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike before being disbanded last spring as part of a series of reforms announced in the wake of the fraud allegations.
Including Raftery, 46 current and former Troop E members — representing approximately one-third of the division — were accused by an internal State Police audit of collecting overtime for hours and shifts they didn’t work.
The audit’s findings have been shared with state and federal prosecutors’ parallel investigations, leading to criminal charges against 10 members. Raftery is one of eight to plead guilty and the second to be sentenced.
Procopio said the overtime audits were part of a larger effort by Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, the State Police superintendent, to implement “sweeping departmental reforms.”
The hours Raftery skipped involved four-hour “Accident Injury Reduction Effort” or “AIRE” overtime shifts targeting speeding and aggressive drivers.
Federal prosecutors this month alleged in a pair of court filings that troopers were expected to issue at least eight traffic citations per shift. Such quotas are considered unconstitutional in Massachusetts, and the department has for years denied using them.
A State Police spokesman last week said the department doesn’t have a quota policy and current leadership doesn’t recall there ever being one.
Prosecutors say that prior to the overtime shifts, Raftery spent time during his regular shifts and paid details compiling information to create “bogus” citations so he could make it appear he worked the overtime hours.
He submitted some copies of the phony citations to the department and destroyed other copies that should have gone to the offender, the courts, and the state’s motor vehicle registry for processing, prosecutors said.
He also submitted other fraudulent paperwork to cover up his absences, prosecutors said. Records also showed his cruiser radio was turned off during overtime shifts.
He received a payout of $25,392 for unused sick or vacation time and is collecting a $72,205-a-year pension.
But his pension is in jeopardy, as his conviction on a crime related to his public employment will trigger a review by the State Retirement Board, which can strip the benefit.
On Monday, former trooper Eric Chin, 46, of Hanover was sentenced by US District Judge Richard G. Stearns to a year of supervised release, including three months of home detention, and ordered to pay more than $7,000 in restitution. Chin also was sentenced to one day of incarceration, which the judge deemed had already been served by his court appearance.
The retirement board expects to discuss the cases of Raftery and Chin behind closed doors at its meeting Thursday.
Raftery is receiving a monthly pension check. Chin hasn’t filed paperwork required to receive the benefit.