Nine current and former Boston Police officers at the BPD Evidence Management Unit on Hyde Park Avenue in Hyde Park were arrested today on charges they put in for some $200,000 in fraudulent overtime over three years, the US Attorney's office reports.
The officers were all charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds, and are scheduled for arraignment today.
The charged: Lt. Timothy Torigian, 54, of Walpole, Sgt. Gerard O’Brien (retired), 62, of Braintree, Sgt. Robert Twitchell (retired), 58, of Norton, and officers Henry Doherty (retired), 61, of Dorchester, Diana Lopez (retired), 58, of Milton, James Carnes (retired), 57, of Canton, Michael Murphy, 60, of Hyde Park, Ronald Nelson (retired), 60, of Jamaica Plain and Kendra Conway, 49, of Boston.
According to the US Attorney's office:
According to the indictment, the defendants were assigned to Boston Police Department’s (BPD) Evidence Control Unit (ECU), where they were responsible for, among other things, storing, cataloging and retrieving evidence at the warehouse. ECU officers were eligible to earn overtime pay of 1.5 times their regular hourly pay rate for overtime assignments. It is alleged that beginning in at least May 2016, the defendants routinely departed overtime shifts two or more hours early but submitted false and fraudulent overtime slips claiming to have worked the entirety of each shift.
One overtime shift, called “purge” overtime, was focused on reducing the inventory of the evidence warehouse. The shift was supposed to be performed from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays. On days which the defendants claimed to have worked until 8:00 p.m., the warehouse was closed, locked and alarmed well before 8:00 p.m., and often by 6:00 p.m. or before. Despite this, it is alleged that the defendants routinely submitted false and fraudulent overtime slips claiming to have worked from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Supervisors, who also left early from this shift, allegedly submitted their own false and fraudulent slips and also knowingly endorsed the fraudulent overtime slips of their subordinates.
Another shift, called “kiosk” overtime, was available to two ECU officers one Saturday a month from 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This shift involved collecting materials, such as unused prescription drugs, from kiosks in each police district in the city and then transporting the materials to an incinerator in Saugus. It is alleged that defendants who performed this overtime shift routinely submitted overtime slips claiming to have worked eight and a half hours when in fact the defendants frequently completed the work and left the shift early, often before 10:00 a.m.
Several of the officers showed dramatic decreases in overtime payments between 2017 and 2019 as the investigation accelerated, according to BPD payroll data via Woke Windows. For example, Torigian made $60,504 in overtime in 2017 and $73,905 in 2018 but just $9,844 in 2019. O'Brien went from $39,477 in 2017 and $51,002 in 2018 to just $6,140 last year. Conway went from $42,336 in 2017 and $42,110 in 2018 to $13,520 last year.
According to the US Attorney's office:
According to court documents, Torigian received over $43,000 for overtime hours he did not work; Twitchell, O’Brien and Doherty each received over $25,000 for overtime hours they did not work; Carnes and Lopez each received over $20,000 for overtime hours they did not work; and Murphy, Nelson and Conway each received over $15,000 for overtime hours they did not work.
In a statement, Police Commissioner William Gross said:
The allegations and behavior alleged in today’s indictments is very troubling and in no way reflect the attitudes of the hard-working employees of the Boston Police Department. I hold my officers to the highest standards and expect them to obey all the laws that they have taken an oath to uphold. News of these indictments send a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated or ignored and can damage the trust my officers have worked so hard to build with the communities we serve.
Gross added that the investigation is continuing.