Former Stoneham Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Three Landlords
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
BOSTON – A former detective sergeant for the Stoneham Police Department pleaded guilty today to concealing his history of evictions and using a family member’s credit report to obtain an apartment lease and then defrauding his landlord by intentionally withholding rent payments.
Robert Kennedy, 54, of Stoneham, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for Jan. 4, 2024. Kennedy was arrested in March 2023 and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury in April 2023.
Kennedy defrauded his last three landlords by providing materially false and misleading information in his rental applications to obtain the respective apartment leases. After moving in, Kennedy would intentionally withhold rent payments, despite making $141,000 - $187,000 a year from the Stoneham Police Department. As a result, Kennedy lived in the apartments rent-free by taking advantage of the slow eviction process.
Specifically, Kennedy defrauded his most recent landlord by submitting materially false and fraudulent information during the rental application process. The landlord required Kennedy to submit to a tenant screening service, which included a credit check and eviction history check. Instead of providing his own date of birth and social security number to the tenant screening service – which would likely have shown Kennedy’s history of collections, delinquent payments, defaults and evictions – Kennedy provided the date of birth and social security number of a relative who shared his first and last name. The landlord relied on the information from the fraudulently obtained tenant screening report to approve Kennedy’s rental application and give Kennedy a lease for the apartment. Additionally, Kennedy immediately and intentionally violated the terms of the lease by giving the landlord bad checks for his rent and security deposit and failing to make subsequent rent payments. Kennedy lived in the apartment for approximately four months without making rent payments and currently owes the landlord approximately $14,000 in overdue rent.
The charges of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Stoneham Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elysa Q. Wan and Dustin Chao of the Public Corruption & Special Prosecutions Unit are prosecuting the case.
Updated September 20, 2023