Retired Massachusetts State Trooper Sentenced in Overtime Abuse Investigation
BOSTON – A retired Massachusetts State Police Trooper was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with overtime abuse at the Massachusetts State Police (MSP).
Daren DeJong, 60, of Uxbridge, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Mark L. Wolf to two years of probation, with the first six months to be served in home confinement. DeJong was also ordered to pay a fine of $5,500 and restitution in the amount of $14,062. In January 2019, DeJong pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds.
DeJong, who is retired, was a Trooper assigned to Troop E, which is responsible for enforcing criminal law and traffic regulations along the Massachusetts Turnpike, Interstate I-90. DeJong received overtime pay for hours that he either did not actually work at all, or shifts in which he departed one to seven hours early.
The conduct involves overtime pay for selective enforcement initiatives, including the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort program (AIRE) and the “X-Team” initiative. Both initiatives are intended to reduce accidents, crashes, and injuries on I-90 through an enhanced presence of MSP Troopers and targeting vehicles traveling at excessive speeds. DeJong was required to work the entire duration of the shifts – either four or eight hours – and truthfully report the date, time and sector of deployment on the citations issued during the shift. DeJong concealed the fraud by submitting citations that were issued outside the overtime shift, altered the citations to create the appearance that citations were issued during the overtime shift, and/or submitted citations that were never issued and never took place.
Trooper DeJong earned $200,416 in 2016, which included approximately $68,394 in overtime, of which more than $14,000 was attributable to AIRE and X-Team shifts that DeJong either left early or did not show up for.
In 2015 and 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.
DeJong is the eighth and final defendant to be sentenced in the case involving MSP Troop E overtime abuse.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; and Christopher A. Scharf, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin Chao and Mark Grady of Rollins’ Criminal Division prosecuted the case.