State suspends $72k annual pension for ex-trooper in OT fraud scandal
The State Retirement Board on Thursday suspended the $72,205-a-year pension of a former state trooper sentenced this week in the overtime fraud scandal, the first time it has made such a move since prosecutors began bringing charges in the sweeping investigation.
Gregory Raftery, a retired trooper and the first defendant to face incarceration over the scheme tied to the now-disbanded Troop E, was sentenced Tuesday to three months in jail.
Board members voted to suspend his monthly benefits in a closed-door session during a regularly scheduled meeting.
The board also referred his case and that of Eric S. Chin, another trooper who pleaded guilty, to a hearing officer who will investigate and make recommendations about whether their pensions should be forfeited. Chin has not filed the paperwork required to receive retirement benefits.
Raftery, who began collecting retirement benefits in June, was the first defendant to plead guilty in the scandal, admitting to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. He was ordered to pay $51,337, the amount Raftery collected for overtime shifts he did not work. After finishing his sentence, he must complete 12 months of supervised release.
Raftery first applied for his pension in March 2018. Under state law, those who have been convicted of a criminal offense “related to his [or her] position” can have their pension stripped by the retirement board. Raftery is one of eight to plead guilty and the second, following Chin, to be sentenced.
Chin, 46, of Hanover, pleaded guilty in December to embezzling from an agency receiving federal funds. He was sentenced Monday to a year of supervised release, including three months of home detention, and ordered to pay more than $7,000 in restitution.
The retirement board has said it can suspend or move to revoke a pension only after criminal proceedings end.
Raftery, 48, of Westwood, delivered a tearful apology Tuesday, telling US District Judge William G. Young, “What I did was wrong, and I’m truly sorry.” He reports to jail April 9.
From 2012 to 2017, Raftery was assigned to Troop E, which patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike before it was disbanded last spring, one of a series of changes announced following the fraud allegations.
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 had worked the overtime hours.
Including Raftery, 46 current and former Troop E members — about one-third of the division — were accused after a State Police audit of collecting overtime pay for hours and shifts they did not work.
The audit has been shared with state and federal prosecutors conducting parallel investigations, leading to criminal charges against 10 members.