Fifth Massachusetts State Trooper Arrested in Overtime Abuse Investigation
BOSTON – A retired Massachusetts State Police Trooper was arrested and charged today in connection with the ongoing investigation of overtime abuse at the Massachusetts State Police (MSP).
Daren DeJong, 57, of Uxbridge, was charged with embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. DeJong will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston at 3:15 p.m. today.
“Mr. DeJong, who was sworn to uphold the law, betrayed the public trust by embezzling funds from the Massachusetts State Police,” said Andrew E. Lelling, United State Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. “Today’s arrest is another step in our ongoing effort to root out fraud and ensure that public funds are appropriately used.”
“As alleged, Mr. DeJong abused his position and betrayed the public's trust by stealing thousands of dollars from overtime shifts he did not work. Instead of enforcing the rules of the road and cracking down on aggressive drivers, he selfishly lined his pockets with paychecks from bogus shifts at the expense of hard-working taxpayers. The FBI would like to thank the Massachusetts State Police for their cooperation, support, and professionalism during the course of this investigation,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division.
According to court documents, DeJong, who is currently retired, was a MSP Trooper assigned to Troop E, which is responsible for enforcing criminal and traffic regulations along the Massachusetts Turnpike, Interstate I-90. DeJong allegedly received overtime pay for hours that he either did not actually work at all, or shifts in which he departed one to seven hours early.
The alleged conduct involves overtime pay for selective enforcement initiatives, including the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort program (AIRE) and the “X-Team” initiative. Both initiatives are intended to reduce accidents, crashes, and injuries on I-90 through an enhanced presence of MSP Troopers and targeting vehicles traveling at excessive speeds. DeJong was required to work the entire duration of the shifts – either four or eight hours – and truthfully report the date, time and sector of deployment on the citations issued during the shift. As alleged, DeJong concealed the fraud by submitting citations that were issued prior to the overtime shift, altered the citations to create the appearance that citations were issued during the overtime shift, and/or submitted citations that were never issued and never took place.
Trooper DeJong earned $179,000 in 2016, which included approximately $63,000 in overtime, of which $14,062 was attributable to AIRE and X-Team shifts that DeJong either left early or did not show up for.
In 2015 and 2016, MSP received annual benefits from the U.S. Department of Transportation in excess of $10,000, which were funded pursuant to numerous federal grants.
On June 27, 2018, former Lieutenant David Wilson, 57, of Charlton; Trooper Gary Herman, 45, of Chester; and former Trooper Paul Cesan, 50, of Southwick, were arrested and charged with the same crime. On July 2, 2018, former Trooper Gregory Raftery, 47, of Westwood pleaded guilty.
The charge of theft of government funds provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Lelling; FBI SAC Shaw; and Douglas Shoemaker, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin Chao and Mark Grady of Lelling’s Public Corruption Unit and Neil Gallagher of Lelling’s Economic Crimes Unit are prosecuting the case.