Massachusetts State Trooper Agrees to Plead Guilty in Overtime Abuse Investigation
BOSTON – A suspended Massachusetts State Police Trooper agreed to plead guilty in connection with the ongoing investigation of overtime abuse at the Massachusetts State Police (MSP).
Heath McAuliffe, 40, of Hopkinton, agreed to plead guilty pursuant to a plea agreement to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. A date for the plea hearing has not yet been scheduled.
According to court documents, McAuliffe was a Trooper assigned to Troop E, which was responsible for enforcing criminal and traffic regulations along the Massachusetts Turnpike, Interstate I-90.
In 2016, McAuliffe earned approximately $164,680, which included approximately $60,908 in overtime pay. In 2015, McAuliffe earned approximately $180,215, which included approximately $83,496 in overtime pay.
McAuliffe was paid for overtime shifts that he did not work at all, for which he arrived late, and from which he left early. McAuliffe 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.
McAuliffe agreed to plead guilty to collecting $7,860 for overtime hours that he did not work between August of 2015 and August of 2016. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the government will recommendation a sentence of between six to twelve months incarceration.
The overtime in question involved the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort program (AIRE), which was intended to reduce accidents, crashes, and injuries on I-90 through an enhanced presence of MSP Troopers who were to target vehicles traveling at excessive speeds.
In 2016 and 2015, MSP received annual benefits from the U.S. Department of Transportation in excess of $10,000, which were funded pursuant to numerous federal grants.
Thus far, eight MSP troopers have been charged in the ongoing investigation. Seven have previously pleaded guilty.
The charge of theft of government funds provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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 are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the court documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.