Former Massachusetts State Trooper Sentenced For Overtime Abuse
BOSTON – A suspended Massachusetts State Police Trooper was sentenced today in federal court in Boston in connection with being paid over $5,900 for overtime hours that he did not work.
Kevin Sweeney, 40, of Braintree, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton to two months in prison, one year of supervised release (the first three months of which will be served in home detention), and was ordered to pay a fine of $4,000 and restitution in the amount of $11,103. In September 2018, Sweeney pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds and one count of wire fraud.
Sweeney was an MSP Trooper assigned to Troop E, which was responsible for enforcing criminal and traffic regulations along the Massachusetts Turnpike, Interstate I-90. In 2016, Sweeney earned $218,512, which included over $95,000 in overtime pay.
Sweeney admitted that between Sept. 1, 2016, and Dec. 31, 2016, he was paid over $5,900 for overtime shifts that he either did not work at all or from which he left early and that his fraudulent citations cost the Commonwealth more than $5,000. Sweeney concealed his fraud by submitting fraudulent citations designed to create the appearance that he had worked overtime hours that he had not, and falsely claimed in MSP paperwork and payroll entries that he had worked the entirety of his overtime shifts.
For example, on Dec. 14, 2016, Sweeney claimed in MSP payroll submissions and other paperwork to have worked a “D AIRE” overtime shift from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sweeney claimed to have written eight motor vehicle citations during that shift and submitted copies of those citations to MSP as evidence that he had worked. Yet, Sweeney’s cruiser radio was not turned on during the overtime shift, he did not run any driver histories during the shift, and Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) records reflect that none of the motorists that Sweeney claims to have cited actually received a citation that day.
In another instance, on Dec. 21, 2016, the RMV did have copies of two of the citations Sweeney claimed to have written during the overtime shift he claimed to have worked, but closer inspection revealed that Sweeney had falsified the times of those citations on the copies submitted to the MSP. The RMV copies revealed that the citations had been written at 5:00 p.m. and 5:05 p.m., which was written on the citations in military time as “1700” and “1705.” On the copies of those same citations submitted to MSP, however, Sweeney changed “1700” and “1705” to “700” and “705” so that it would appear to MSP that the citations had been written during the 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. overtime shift that Sweeney did not work. And, like Dec. 14, Sweeney’s cruiser radio was not turned on during the overtime shift, he did not run any driver histories during the shift, and Registry of Motor Vehicle (RMV) records reflect that the other six motorists that Sweeney claims to have cited did not actually receive a citation that day.
The overtime in question involved the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort program (AIRE) and the “X-Team” initiative, which were intended to reduce accidents, crashes, and injuries on I-90 through an enhanced presence of MSP Troopers assigned to target vehicles traveling at excessive speeds.
In 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.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; 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 prosecuted the case.