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).
Eric Chin, 46, of Hanover, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for March, 20, 2018. In October 2018, Chin was charged by Information and agreed to plead guilty pursuant to a plea agreement.
Chin 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, Chin earned $302,400, which included approximately $131,653 in overtime pay.
Chin was paid for overtime shifts that he did not work at all or from which he left early. Chin 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.
Chin admitted collecting $7,125 for overtime hours that he did not work.
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, MSP received annual benefits from the U.S. Department of Transportation in excess of $10,000, which were funded pursuant to numerous federal grants.
Chin is the fifth Trooper to plead guilty as a result of the ongoing investigation. On July 2, 2018, former Trooper Gregory Raftery, 47, of Westwood pleaded guilty; on Sep. 14, 2018, suspended Trooper Kevin Sweeney, 40, of Braintree pleaded guilty; on Oct. 11, 2018, suspended Trooper Gary Herman, 45, of Chester, pleaded guilty; and, on Nov. 28, 2019, former Trooper Paul Cesan pleaded guilty.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced earlier today that David Wilson and Daren DeJong, who were each previously charged on June 27, 2018, and July 25, 2018, respectively, have agreed to plead guilty. Dates for those plea hearings have not yet been set.
Pursuant to Chin’s plea agreement, the government will recommend a sentence of between six and 12 months of incarceration. 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 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.