By Jack Burns
Going far beyond simply cheating on their time cards, three Massachusetts State Troopers have been arrested and charged with embezzlement. According to the allegations brought against the troopers, they stole tens of thousands of dollars when they billed the state for overtime they either did not work or time they stole when they clocked out early.
The officers are Paul Cesan, Gary Herman, and David Wilson. In 2016, Cesan is believed to have embezzled $29,000, Herman $12,468, and Wilson $12,450, which amounts to a year’s salary for some hourly workers. Following the discovery, Cesan and Wilson resigned, and Herman was suspended.
NBC 10 in Boston reported:
They altered citations they had given out to make them appear as though they were given during overtime hours, or in some cases they (prosecutors) allege, they made up tickets that were never actually even issued.
In other words, the officers issued tickets—presumably to unsuspecting citizens—but forged the time on the ticket to appear as though they were working overtime. That is called lying by all intents and purposes, but the crime took place when they cashed in their paychecks for the overtime they simply never worked.
The federal offenses came to light under the microscope of a broader investigation into the policing practices of the now disbanded “Troop E” after it was discovered that a total of 21 officers were stealing overtime pay from the state. An internal audit of state trooper salaries in 2016 revealed the scam. Preventative measures were subsequently put in place by installing GPS transmitters in trooper vehicles to “better track their whereabouts,” according to the report.
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Payscale.com says that the average Massachusetts State Trooper makes $104,000. Trooper Wilson reportedly earned $240,000 in 2016, well over double what the average trooper earns. Cesan and Herman’s yearly earnings from 2016 were not disclosed in the reports. All three troopers have been charged with theft from an agency receiving government funds.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling held a press conference and indicated that these initial charges will likely be followed by more.
“Let me be clear that today’s charges are the beginning and not the end of this federal investigation,” Lelling said. “There will be ongoing federal enforcement in this area aimed at determining whether this is a systemic problem within the State Police and if it is, Taking steps to fix it.”
All three men were arrested early on Wednesday, and from the tone of the press conference, the scandal is much broader and wider than many may know. Federal prosecutors released a dragnet over the MA State Police, and once again, those in charge of enforcing laws have been caught breaking the law and are facing serious penalties which could include jail time. However, as history has shown, many police officers rarely see any prison time for their crimes—even when some of those crimes have human victims, not merely fiduciary ones.
Unfortunately for prosecutors, when it is discovered that a law enforcement officer is a liar and a thief, anyone those troopers testified against, and anyone they may have sent to jail or to prison could likely have their convictions overturned. Such individuals could then sue the State of Massachusetts to recover any and all assets that were stolen from them through civil asset forfeiture, fines and fees they paid the courts, and any pain and suffering they may have endured during their criminal proceedings or incarceration. Massachusetts taxpayers will then carry the burden of paying for the crimes these troopers have allegedly committed.