Former state police troopers charged in overtime scheme
Traffic enforcement official also misused business money
TWO FORMER State Police troopers were arrested Friday for a years-long overtime scheme, which allegedly allowed them to embezzle thousands of dollars in overtime pay, according to US Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.
Former Massachusetts State Police lieutenant Daniel Griffin, of Belmont, and former sergeant William Robertson were charged in US District Court in Boston with conspiracy, federal programs embezzlement, and wire fraud in connection with the overtime scheme. Griffin was also charged with allegedly defrauding the private school that his children attended by concealing his income in order to obtain financial aid.
Both men are scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon.
“If these allegations are true, these troopers were paid substantial overtime in taxpayer money that was intended to keep the public safe on the roads. But for much of the time, Griffin and Robertson weren’t even on the roads,” Lelling said at a press conference.
For overtime traffic shifts that ran from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., they would work for an hour and a half during their normal shift time, then go home. For overnight shifts, they would arrive an hour late, then leave two or more hours early. Griffin instructed those working for him to come late or leave early and falsify payroll entries.
Griffin submitted forms for reimbursement for federal grant money knowing that the troopers had not actually worked the overtime. Overall, Griffin, Robertson and three other troopers collected $133,000 in fraudulent overtime pay between 2015 and 2018, according to court documents.
They are facing federal charges because the shifts were funded with federal traffic safety grants.
While only Griffin and Robertson are facing federal charges in this case so far, the charging documents say three other unnamed troopers were involved. Asked whether any other troopers will be arrested, Lelling said, “The investigation is active and ongoing.”
When the State Police began probing overtime scandals related to other state police units in 2017 and 2018, prosecutors allege that Griffin, Robertson, and others shredded and burned incriminating forms – then claimed they were “inadvertently discarded or misplaced” during office moves.
After learning of the federal grand jury investigation this fall, Griffin allegedly told a trooper, “Don’t tell them f-ing anything.”
According to the charging documents, during the hours Griffin was supposed to be working for the police, he was actually running his business, KnightPro, which provided security for art galleries and university events. From 2012 to 2019, Griffin earned more than $2 million from KnightPro – on top of his state police salary of more than $220,000 annually between 2015 and 2017.
The most serious charge, wire fraud, carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
The latest charges are part of what appears to be a pattern of overtime fraud among the State Police.
Before this, 46 state police officers from Troop E, also a traffic enforcement division, had been flagged by a State Police audit for participating in overtime abuse. According to a tally by MassLive, eight troopers were charged in federal court and three in state court (one was charged in both court systems). Troop E primarily patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike and was disbanded due to the overtime scandal.The Traffic Programs Section appears to be a separate unit, which was charged with manning sobriety checkpoints and enforcing seatbelt, distracted driving and other traffic laws.
Lelling called the State Police a “premier law enforcement institution that must do a better job of self-policing and eliminating this kind of conduct.” For abuses like this to happen, Lelling said, “You have to operate in a culture that it seems okay to do it, and that’s the problem.”