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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 11, 2020

Former Massachusetts State Police Troopers Charged with Conspiracy to Embezzle Overtime Funds and Wire Fraud

Former Lieutenant and Sergeant allegedly ordered records shredded and told Troopers to cover up fraud

BOSTON – Former Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Lieutenant Daniel J. Griffin and former MSP Sergeant William W. Robertson were arrested today and charged in federal court in Boston with conspiracy, federal programs embezzlement and wire fraud in connection with an overtime scheme dating back to 2015. Griffin was also charged with filing false tax returns and wire fraud related to his scheme to defraud a private school.

Griffin, 57, of Belmont, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of theft concerning a federal program, eight counts of wire fraud and 11 counts of assisting in filing false tax returns. Griffin was arrested this morning and will appear in federal court in Boston this afternoon.

Robertson, 58, of Westborough, was indicted on one count of conspiracy, one count of theft concerning a federal program and four counts of wire fraud. Robertson was also arrested this morning and will appear in federal court in Boston this afternoon.

According to the indictment, from 2015 through 2018, Griffin, Robertson, and other troopers in the Traffic Programs Section at State Police Headquarters in Framingham conspired to embezzle thousands of dollars in federally funded overtime by regularly arriving late to, and leaving early from, overtime shifts funded by grants intended to improve traffic safety. During the course of the conspiracy, Griffin made and approved false entries on police forms and other documentation to conceal and perpetuate the fraud.

When MSP overtime misconduct came to light in 2017 and 2018, Griffin, Robertson and their coconspirators allegedly took steps to avoid detection by shredding and burning records and forms. It is alleged that after an internal inquiry regarding missing forms, Griffin submitted a memo to his superiors that was designed to mislead them by claiming that missing forms were “inadvertently discarded or misplaced” during office moves. 

It is further alleged that while perpetuating the overtime scheme, Griffin spent significant time running his security business, KnightPro, even during hours that Griffin was collecting his regular MSP pay and overtime. From 2012 to 2019, Griffin collected almost $2 million in KnightPro revenue. Of that total, it is alleged that Griffin hid over $700,000 in revenue from the IRS and used hundreds of thousands of dollars in KnightPro income to fund personal expenses, such as golf club expenses, car payments, private school tuition and expenses related to his second home on Cape Cod.   

Griffin was also charged with defrauding a private school attended by two of his children from at least 2016 to 2019 by concealing his KnightPro income and filing materially misleading financial aid applications, which understated his income and assets by hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Despite Griffin’s lucrative MSP salary and KnightPro business, Griffin obtained over $175,000 in financial aid from the private school over the course of several years.

“Today’s charges involve losses for the taxpayers, and also for the Massachusetts State Police, a premier law enforcement institution that must do a better job self-policing and eliminating this kind of misconduct,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling. “Everyone must be treated equally under the law, and we will keep doing these cases until this kind of abuse stops - abuse that is deeply unfair to the vast majority of law enforcement officers who are doing their job the right way, already under difficult circumstances.”

“Today’s arrest and charges demonstrates the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General’s (DOT OIG) commitment to ensuring recipients of DOT grants and funds uphold the high standard of stewardship that every American taxpayer expects and deserves,” said Douglas Shoemaker, Special Agent-in-Charge, DOT OIG-Northeast Region. “We will continue working with our Federal and State law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to pursue individuals who intentionally abuse federally-funded programs for their personal benefit and enrichment.”

“Today we arrested two former state troopers for their alleged roles in a blatant overtime fraud scheme and their attempts to cover it up. Both men are accused of abusing their positions to steal tens of thousands of dollars in scarce federal grants while neglecting to enforce important traffic safety laws,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “In Lt. Griffin’s case, we believe he even went as far as underreporting his income to the IRS and his children’s private school to increase the amount of financial assistance they received. This deliberate abuse of authority will not be tolerated, and the FBI will continue to pursue anyone who fraudulently siphons public funds.”

“The defendants were members of the law enforcement community which is incredibly troubling,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Joleen Simpson of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division.  “The residents of Massachusetts put their trust in the defendants to uphold the law, and that trust, was broken.  But let me be absolutely clear.  These charges should in no way be a reflection on the more than 2,000 Massachusetts troopers who serve the Commonwealth with honor and integrity every day.” 

The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of federal program fraud provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. 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. The charge of filing false tax returns provides for a sentence of up to three years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $100,000.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S Attorney Lelling, DOT OIG-Northeast Region SAC Shoemaker, FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta and IRS-CI Acting SAC Simpson made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dustin Chao of Lelling’s Public Corruption Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Updated December 11, 2020