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Press Release

Former Stoneham Police Officer Sentenced for Defrauding Three Landlords

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A former detective sergeant for the Stoneham Police Department was sentenced today for 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, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to two years of probation, with the first 90 days to be served under home confinement with electronic monitoring.  Kennedy was also ordered to pay restitution of $14,275. In September 2023, Kennedy pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. 

“Today's sentence should send a clear message: no one is above the law. We remain steadfast in our commitment to hold accountable those who exploit their positions and engage in fraudulent activities that compromise the very principles they are sworn to uphold,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy.

“Former Stoneham Police Department Detective Robert Kennedy broke laws he was sworn to enforce, and in doing so, failed his department, and betrayed the trust of three landlords whom he lied to and defrauded. In no uncertain terms, today’s sentence demonstrates that no one is above the law,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “This case also highlights the FBI’s ongoing commitment to root out and bring to justice anyone who deliberately compromises the integrity of their position for personal gain.”

From February 2020 through June 2023, Kennedy lied to and defrauded three separate landlords to obtain apartments that he had no intention of paying for. 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.  

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 prosecuted the case.

Updated January 8, 2024

Public Corruption