Three Massachusetts State Police troopers were arrested and charged Wednesday in an extensive overtime abuse scandal that has rocked the department and could result in charges for dozens more officers as the investigation continues, MassLive reported.
Former Lt. David Wilson, former Trooper Paul Cesan, and Trooper Gary Herman were hit with the federal charge of theft from an agency receiving government funds. Of the three troopers, one had been suspended and the other two retired.
"Let me be clear that today's charges are the beginning," said U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
What's the story?
The three officers were charged for fraud that allegedly occurred in 2016, meaning more charges could be forthcoming for potential crimes committed after that.
Wilson is accused of getting $12,450 in overtime pay that he did not earn. Herman is accused of getting $12,468 for overtime shifts he either left early or didn't work at all. Cesan allegedly received $29,000 for overtime he didn't work.
There are "30 or 40" more troopers who could potentially be implicated in the overtime scandal, which Gov. Charlie Baker said "was going on for many years."
How did they do it?
The troopers were a part of the Accident Injury Reduction Effort, a program available to members of Troop E that served the purpose of providing extra patrols on the state's turnpike.
In order to cover for themselves, the troopers allegedly wrote "ghost tickets" to make it seem like they were working when they weren't and then would never forward those tickets to the state Registry of Motor Vehicles because they had never been issued to an actual driver.
Troop E has since been disbanded because of the scandal. Both state and federal authorities are investigating to determine just how widespread the corruption was.
FBI special agent Harold Shaw emphasized that the alleged crimes not only impacted the department, but the public as well.
"It's not just about the work these troopers didn't do," Shaw told WBZ-TV. "It's about the false sense of security the public had."