Friday, February 7, 2020

The fraud started in 1996 at the MSP... what a revelation

 Matt Rocheleau from the Globe writes today about how far back the fraud started. While for years the MSP denied ticket quotas, we see now that they were all lying. What a surprise. This fraud spans  many administrations who kept their heads in the sand, not wanting to irritate the MSP.  Baker and Beacon Hill can no longer just ignore such egregious fraud that dates back almost 25 years.

The State Police overtime scandal dates back more than 20 years — far earlier than previously thought — and was part of a scheme hatched by top commanders who pushed troopers to write citations as part of an illegal ticket quota system, according to a former lieutenant facing state charges.
Starting in 1996, supervisors in Troop E, which patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike, demanded troopers write a certain number of citations during each overtime shift in order to generate revenue for the state, according to a memo filed in court by an attorney for retired Lieutenant David Keefe.
As long as troopers handed in enough tickets to meet the quota, supervisors allegedly turned a blind eye and didn’t require them to actually work their shifts.
The court filing alleges that after an internal State Police audit uncovered problems with the overtime in early 2017, the troop’s leaders created a new quota program and demanded troopers write even more citations.
Federal prosecutors have previously mentioned the existence of a State Police ticket quota system, but Keefe’s claims provide the most detailed window into the roots of the State Police payroll scandal, which resulted in the disbanding of the troubled troop.
The allegations, filed in Keefe’s pending case in Suffolk Superior Court, come just days after a federal judge reignited questions about the scandal and ordered federal prosecutors to reexamine whether it amounted to a broad criminal conspiracy.
Keefe’s memo cited a slew of top Troop E supervisors who allegedly sanctioned the practice, and it referenced sworn grand jury testimony from several of them.
“It is incredible that the department, who has sanctioned such conduct for literally decades, now attempts to use it as a basis for prosecution,” Keefe’s attorney, Timothy M. Burke, wrote in the filing.
Burke, of Needham, is a former prosecutor and served as general counsel of the powerful troopers union. His client pleaded not guilty and is charged with embezzling more than $23,500 in overtime pay between 2015 and 2016. The attorney general’s office is seeking to put Keefe behind bars for nine months, according to court records.
State Police spokesman David Procopio on Thursday declined to weigh in on Keefe’s claims.
“It would be inappropriate for us to discuss specific evidence presented by prosecutors or allegations made by the defendant in response to those charges,” Procopio said.
For years, State Police officials repeatedly denied that any quota system exists. Procopio said Thursday only that the agency “does not endorse or condone quota systems.”
A spokeswoman for Governor Charlie Baker said the administration "supports all prosecutors’ offices’ continued efforts to hold accountable all those who broke the law.”
Keefe ended his near 30-year State Police career in March 2018, retiring one day before the department publicly accused more than 20 troopers of payroll fraud. He is one of 10 former troopers charged in the sprawling payroll scandal. Nine troopers have pleaded guilty and a federal probe is ongoing.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which is prosecuting Keefe, declined to comment.
Burke said Keefe, unlike other troopers charged in the scandal, did not falsify tickets or other paperwork. He simply did not work all the hours on some shifts.
“It’s clear that he was fully in compliance with the rules that existed and had been in existence for 15 years at the time prior to his assignment to the turnpike," Burke said in an interview Thursday.


At February 7, 2020 at 2:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does not make our AG look good. She closed her investigation without ever knowing this. Lousy job or intentional effort to cover up

At February 7, 2020 at 2:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question Jim. Can those officers who instituted these policies 24 years ago be prosecuted oe are they clear via the statute saying can’t prosecute after a certain amount of time?

At February 7, 2020 at 3:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One must ask if this has been going on undetected for all these years at this department of state government what is going on in all the other state agencies. Is there no oversight?

At February 7, 2020 at 3:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn’t anyone asking what the dollar figure associated with this is? It could potentially be in the millions over all those years. That is not chump change. How do we get the money back into the state coffers?

At February 7, 2020 at 3:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could the AG just close her investigation? Who actually got this information if not th AG or did the AG know this and try to cover it up? Something smells rotten in this whole investigation

At February 7, 2020 at 4:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim do you see this as a coverup or a failure by a series of governors to oversee the agencies they were/are responsible for? That makes a big difference to me. Are they lazy in. Doing their job or are they complicit in the crime?

At February 7, 2020 at 4:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad to say I am not surprised by this. State police in MA have always been considered above reproach. Clearly not a reputation they deserved. Here is a aquestion for you Jim. We’re troopers from other barracks transferring into to this troop? To me that would be a sign that everyone knew about this

At February 10, 2020 at 9:02 AM , Blogger jim pillsbury said...

Colonel Mason has said he will seek complete restitution from those who have been caught. It does not appear he is willing to dig deeper at this point. My guess is that it will take a federal judge to force Lelling to look for conspiracy charges against many more than anyone had thought.

If those of us who traveled the Pike for decades knew... or at least thought so... about ticket quotas, one has to conclude that everyone knew about them, including past administrations, as far back as Weld, Celluci, Swift, Romeny and Partick.

Baker owns this mess and so does the Legislature. I suspect now that at least 10% or more of the entire force are or have been in on this fraud. Perhaps with the newly discovered boxes of related intel that was found, the feds could find dozens of credible examples worthy of being presented as evidence going forward.

I don't know which troopers had asked to be transferred into those barracks, but the E and F Troop were seen as the gravy trains, patrolling Logan and the Seaport.

Notice, the MWDN didn't even run a small piece on the 24 years of OT abuse, reported by the Globe. That's very disturbing.


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