Nine Boston Cops Arrested by FBI in Overtime Fraud Scheme
Nine current and former Boston police officers were arrested today by the FBI and charged with committing over $200,000 in overtime fraud.
The defendants were assigned to the Evidence Control Unit, where they were responsible for storing, cataloging, and retrieving evidence at the warehouse. Officers were eligible to earn time-and-a-half for overtime assignments at the ECU. The defendants allegedly departed from overtime shifts two or more hours early but submitted slips claiming to have worked the whole shift, according to a media release from U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.
Police allegedly abused both “purge” and "kiosk" overtime. Purge shifts involved reducing inventory, and kiosk shifts involved collecting unused prescription drugs from kiosks in city police precincts then driving those materials to an incinerator in Saugus.
Between May 2016 and February 2019, the defendants allegedly collectively embezzled over $200,000 in overtime pay.
“I am a strong supporter of the police, especially in these difficult times. But all must be treated equally under the law, regardless of wealth, power or station,” Lelling stated. “These officers are charged with stealing taxpayer money, year after year, through fraud. Beyond the theft of funds, this kind of official misconduct also erodes trust in public institutions, at a time when that trust is most needed."
“As law enforcement officers, we have a tremendous responsibility to the public we serve, and therefore must be held to the highest standards of trust and integrity. These police officers are accused of breaking that trust by conspiring to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars to increase their paychecks,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
“Law enforcement officers are expected to perform their duties honorably and with integrity, not to take advantage of the system for personal gain," said Guido Modano, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General New York Field Office.
The former and current officers were indicted by a federal grand jury and were suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case.
“The allegations and behavior alleged in today’s indictments is very troubling and in no way reflect the attitudes of the hard-working employees of the Boston Police Department," said city police commissioner William Gross. "I hold my officers to the highest standards and expect them to obey all the laws that they have taken an oath to uphold. News of these indictments sends a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated or ignored and can damage the trust my officers have worked so hard to build with the communities we serve.”
Named in the indictment were Lieutenant Timothy Torigian, 54, of Walpole; Sergeant Gerard O’Brien (retired), 62, of Braintree; Sergeant Robert Twitchell (retired), 58, of Norton; Officer Henry Doherty (retired), 61, of Dorchester; Officer Diana Lopez (retired), 58, of Milton; Officer James Carnes (retired), 57, of Canton; Officer Michael Murphy, 60, of Hyde Park; Officer Ronald Nelson (retired), 60, of Jamaica Plain; and Officer Kendra Conway, 49, of Boston. Each faces one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. The defendants will make initial appearances via videoconference in federal court in Boston later today.
If convicted, the defendants could see hefty fines or prison.
Lelling thanked Commissioner Gross and the Boston Police Department’s Anti-Corruption Unit for their assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Lelling’s Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting the case.