15 Mass. state troopers face charges in overtime scandal
1 trooper has been fired, 5 are facing termination and 15 were ordered to repay money
By Steph Solis
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — One Massachusetts State Trooper was fired and five others face termination proceedings as part of the Massachusetts State Police’s enforcement actions against those implicated in the agency’s overtime abuse scandal.
In total, 22 members who were in the now-disbanded Troop E received disciplinary orders after fraud charges were sustained, according to a news release from the department Thursday night.
The agency fired one member on Monday. Another five face termination proceedings. Fifteen others were disciplined per an order issued Thursday. The agency declined to identify who was fired and who received termination notices.
The 15 who face discipline were ordered to be suspended without pay for various lengths of time, ranging from 60 days to 841 days or a little over two years. Three of those troopers have been credited for time served as they were already suspended without pay in 2018.
They were ordered to pay restitution for money stolen for the shifts they falsely claimed to have worked, according to the state police’s review. The restitution ranges from $2,941 to $15,901.
Those troopers include the following:
Trooper John Adams
Trooper David Perrault
Trooper Jeffrey Reger
Trooper Jeffrey Russell
Trooper Anthony Bozko
Trooper Mark Augusta
Trooper Kevin Fogwill
Sergeant George Hamilton
Trooper Christopher Brown
Trooper David Berra
Trooper George Beaupre
Trooper Gerald Johnson
Sergeant Arthur Hebb
Trooper Michael Thorpe
Trooper Robert Church
Reger, Adams and Russell, along with Trooper Daniel Crespi, were among four troopers who fought their suspensions as the overtime scandal investigation was underway. The state’s Civil Service Commission overturned their suspensions, but state police had appealed that decision.
In total, state police referred 46 troopers, all members of the former Troop E, for criminal prosecution after an audit tied them to a massive overtime abuse scandal between 2015 and 2017. Fourteen troopers had already retired, either voluntarily or due to a disability through the Merit Rating Board between October 2017 and September 2019.
Out of all the troopers implicated in the overtime abuse case, only 10 faced charges in either federal or state court. Nine of those troopers have been convicted and sentenced.
State police said one trooper was believed to have improperly billed for four overtime hours, but an internal investigation found the payroll entry was an administrative error.
Col. Christopher Mason and Gov. Charlie Baker asked the Retirement Board to strip the pensions of the 14 troopers, but they were allowed to retain their pensions.
In a January announcement, Mason said he planned to fire 22 troopers identified as having participated in the overtime scandal.
The overtime abuse investigation was one of several scandals that put the agency in a spotlight. Two retired troopers, Lt. Paul Wosny and Trooper Michael Wilmot, faced criminal charges in state court after they took free guns from a prospective vendor and weapons from the state police armory.
They both received probation.
MassLive reporter Scott J. Croteau contributed to this report.
©2020 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.