Former Boston Police Sergeant Pleads Guilty in Overtime Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – A former Boston Police Sergeant pleaded guilty today in connection with an ongoing investigation of overtime fraud at the Boston Police Department’s evidence warehouse.
William Baxter, 62, of Hyde Park, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris scheduled sentencing for Oct. 21, 2021. Baxter was charged on May 24, 2021.
From March 2015 through June 2016, Baxter submitted false and fraudulent overtime slips for overtime hours that he did not work for two overtime shifts at the evidence warehouse. The first, called “purge” overtime, was a 4 – 8 p.m. weekday shift intended to dispose of old, unneeded evidence. The second shift, called “kiosk” overtime, involved driving to each police district in Boston one Saturday a month to collect old prescription drugs to be burned.
For the “purge” shift, Baxter claimed to have worked from 4 – 8 p.m., but he routinely left at 6 p.m., and sometimes earlier. Additionally, Baxter knowingly endorsed the fraudulent overtime slips of his subordinates who, allegedly, also left early from this shift. For the “kiosk” shift, Baxter and, allegedly, others routinely submitted overtime slips claiming to have worked eight-and-one-half hours, when in fact he and, allegedly, other members of the unit, only worked three-to-four hours of those shifts.
Between March 2015 and June 2016, Baxter personally collected approximately $9,223 for overtime hours he did not work.
To date, 14 Boston Police officers have been charged in connection with committing overtime fraud at the Boston Police Department’s evidence warehouse. Baxter is the seventh officer to plead guilty. An eighth former officer, Craig Smalls, is scheduled to plead guilty on July 1, 2021.
From 2015 through 2019, BPD received annual benefits from the U.S. Department of Transportation and U.S. Department of Justice in excess of $10,000, which were funded pursuant to numerous federal grants.
The charge of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Russell W. Cunningham, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Washington Field Office; and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Mendell’s Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.