Massachusetts State Trooper Pleads Guilty in Overtime Abuse Investigation
BOSTON – A suspended Massachusetts State Police Trooper pleaded guilty today in connection with the ongoing investigation of overtime abuse at the Massachusetts State Police (MSP).
Gary Herman, 45, of Chester, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for Jan. 17, 2018. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of between six and 12 months in prison. Herman was arrested on June 27, 2019, and subsequently released on conditions.
Herman 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, Herman earned $227,826, which included approximately $63,053 in overtime pay.
Herman was paid for overtime shifts that he did not work at all or from which he left early. Herman concealed his abuse 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. On multiple occasions Herman fabricated bogus citations, copying the driver information from citations that he had issued months earlier, in order to be paid for overtime that he did not work at all. In total, Herman collected $12,468 for overtime that he did not work.
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 who were 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.
Herman is the third Trooper to plead guilty as a result of the ongoing investigation. On July 2, 2018, former Trooper Gregory Raftery, 47, of Westwood, pleaded guilty, and on Sept. 14, 2018, suspended Trooper Kevin Sweeney, 40, of Braintree, pleaded guilty. Three other Troopers have been charged: on June 27, 2018, former Lieutenant David Wilson, 57, of Charlton; and former Trooper Paul Cesan, 50, of Southwick, were arrested and charged with the same crime. On July 25, 2018, retired Trooper Daren DeJong, 56, of Uxbridge, was charged.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of between six and 12 months in prison. 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; Harold H. Shaw, 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, Mark Grady, and Neil Gallagher of Lelling’s Criminal Division 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.