Mass State Police Department accused of recurrent payroll fraud Mass State Police Department accused of recurrent payroll fraud

Mass State Police Department accused of recurrent payroll fraud
23 Aug 2018

Internal affairs investigators for the Massachusetts State Police discovered instances of apparent payroll fraud that never made it into their final report, claims The Boston Globe.

The probe allegedly uncovered that two members of Troop E routinely filed for more than 30 hours a week in overtime payments, but failed to work entire shifts – or any of the shift at all in some instances. But the Boston Globe claims that the apparent overtime abuse never made it into the investigators’ final report, which concluded only that the officers had wrongly freelanced out a few funeral procession escorts. 

But there have been a number of red flags signalling potential payroll fraud in the state’s largest law enforcement agency over recent years, the Globe attested following a review of dozens of internal Police files. 

The Police Department said it was unable to easily identify even a single state trooper who had been suspended for payroll irregularities recently. Yet at least eight of the people flagged in its own internal inspections into extraordinary overtime since 2011 are now under investigation by prosecutors for taking suspected fraudulent overtime more recently.

The Department’s reports show that leaders were repeatedly asked not only about the remarkable number of overtime hours being taken but also due to suspicious sick time claims and sloppy record-keeping across the agency.

Meanwhile, audits and disciplinary letters show that at least 67 state troopers have been suspected of abusing sick leave since 2011, although little, if any, punishment has been metered out beyond the odd written warning. One trooper regularly worked a paid detail, then clocked on for his regular shift, before claiming for a partial sick day.

To complicate matters, State Police audits also show that payroll records in about 40% of the barracks contained inaccurate or unclear entries or were missing key information, such as when and where troopers worked.

In a 2014 report just months before the time period covered by the current federal probe, Colonel Kerry Gilpin, then a lieutenant in the Division of Standards and Training, stated in her inspection reports that troopers and their supervisors did “an outstanding job” in tracking payroll records - although some of the troopers she examined are now under federal investigation.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said the current leaders only became aware of potential overtime discrepancies when the case file was reviewed following the Globe’s inquiries.

He added that more than 40 troopers have been referred to federal and state prosecutors within the last year. To date, one supervisor, former Lieutenant David Wilson, has been charged with embezzlement.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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Internal affairs investigators for the Massachusetts State Police discovered instances of apparent payroll fraud that never made it into their final report, claims The Boston Globe.

The probe allegedly uncovered that two members of Troop E routinely filed for more than 30 hours a week in overtime payments, but failed to work entire shifts – or any of the shift at all in some instances. But the Boston Globe claims that the apparent overtime abuse never made it into the investigators’ final report, which concluded only that the officers had wrongly freelanced out a few funeral procession escorts. 

But there have been a number of red flags signalling potential payroll fraud in the state’s largest law enforcement agency over recent years, the Globe attested following a review of dozens of internal Police files. 

The Police Department said it was unable to easily identify even a single state trooper who had been suspended for payroll irregularities recently. Yet at least eight of the people flagged in its own internal inspections into extraordinary overtime since 2011 are now under investigation by prosecutors for taking suspected fraudulent overtime more recently.

The Department’s reports show that leaders were repeatedly asked not only about the remarkable number of overtime hours being taken but also due to suspicious sick time claims and sloppy record-keeping across the agency.

Meanwhile, audits and disciplinary letters show that at least 67 state troopers have been suspected of abusing sick leave since 2011, although little, if any, punishment has been metered out beyond the odd written warning. One trooper regularly worked a paid detail, then clocked on for his regular shift, before claiming for a partial sick day.

To complicate matters, State Police audits also show that payroll records in about 40% of the barracks contained inaccurate or unclear entries or were missing key information, such as when and where troopers worked.

In a 2014 report just months before the time period covered by the current federal probe, Colonel Kerry Gilpin, then a lieutenant in the Division of Standards and Training, stated in her inspection reports that troopers and their supervisors did “an outstanding job” in tracking payroll records - although some of the troopers she examined are now under federal investigation.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said the current leaders only became aware of potential overtime discrepancies when the case file was reviewed following the Globe’s inquiries.

He added that more than 40 troopers have been referred to federal and state prosecutors within the last year. To date, one supervisor, former Lieutenant David Wilson, has been charged with embezzlement.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

US payroll clerk convicted of grand theft

Combatting payroll fraud

Louisiana cracks down on payroll tax evaders

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