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Officers at Boston Police evidence warehouse indicted on charges of abusing overtime

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.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

I'm listening for the 'good ones'.

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One bad apple will eventually be overcome and ejected from the barrel by all the good ones - that's how it goes, right?

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https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/nine-boston-police-officers-arrested-...

"Between May 2016 and February 2019 the defendants allegedly collectively embezzled over $200,000 in overtime pay. 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."

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Voting closed 6

I've updated (well, completely rewritten) the original post with that info.

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Voting closed 14

Seems to me there's a lot of learned behavior in multiple law enforcement agencies in this state where one generation teaches the next how to steal from their employers, you know, we the people, while simultaneously pumping up their pensions.

Maybe it's time we had an independent special counsel type of person, not Mueller, with a fully funded team of investigators that could you know, investigate the obvious (alleged) patterns of payroll and overtime abuse being committed and move to recoup these monies, along with imposing fines and custodial sentences that would make stealing while policing a less attractive way to subsidize the [insert stereotypical nautical purchase] on the [insert ethnically offensive name for a geographical location].

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Voting closed 8

It was Rod Rosenstein who blocked (diverted rather) Mueller's attention away from Trümp's ties with Mother Russia.

I know his report and media fallout was an embarassing swing-and-a-miss but I firmly believe Mueller's reputation will be redeemed and firmly intact with sane minded Americans and the world after this nightmare is over.

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Voting closed 16

Pension is based on regular wages.

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Now do "items seized as 'evidence' gone missing".

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Voting closed 7

Or never recorded as evidence in the first place?

In the 70s (yeah I know) I was personally aware of a certain uniformed individual who had access to free smokables. The system had benefits for all concerned. The alleged perp was never arrested or charged. The trooper and others got free stuff. And the law against possession at the time was BS anyways.

I am sure nothing like that happens these days.

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Or evidence sent to bonded warehouses for kickbacks. Which is a massive scandal in this state few are paying attention to.

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Voting closed 5

The article refers to “overtime shifts” for certain tasks. But those tasks appear to be routine, planned-in-advance work.

Ok, what?

In any normal business setting, overtime is for unexpected, temporary situations: for example hiring hasn’t caught up to increased business volume, or some contingency has occurred that needs to be dealt with, or there is a sudden bump in workload ( for police work I am guessing big demonstrations, sports championships, major storms; things of that nature)

That large amounts of overtime appear to be baked into the system might indicate a significant management problem.

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Voting closed 7

Just because they are routine does not mean they justify adding additional staffing.

Consider these one Saturday a month shift for 2 officers to empty the drug takeback kiosks. Are you going to hire two full time police officers, with all of the additional costs of training, uniforms and benefits, just to cover 8 hours once a month? And for pay, we are talking about this OT shift costing 24 hours of pay per MONTH, whereas creating these FT positions would cost 80 hours of pay per week.

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Voting closed 3

Why should an entirely predictable, non-critical, scheduled-in-advance task that takes16 hours per month of work require either overtime or an additional hire? Why isn't it just part of the regular work roster? There doesn't need to be a dedicated team that does nothing other than empty the kiosks.

I'm not saying there should never be overtime -- of course it's needed to flexibly meet changing demands. But if you are consistently booking thousands of hours of overtime, it's probably the case that you are short staffed.

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Voting closed 5

why not move it to some other weekday and rearrange the existing force to handle that work? I find it hard to believe that there's regularly exactly 24 hours of work that needs to be done every month while officers are otherwise totally occupied for the rest of their workdays.

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But I think it goes something like this:

The evidence staff is made up of 10 people and they each have 10 jobs to do, with different things needed to be done each day. Then the DAs office says they need someone to now prepare evidence for dangerousness hearings and testify in addition to trials (previously they only did trials). Ok that’s fine, it’s a little more work, 10 employees can do that. Then the DAs office wants these guys to get sexual assault kits directly from hospitals instead of the SAU unit getting them (ok another job they can handle). Now the department wants them to go around and empty kiosks filled with drugs, needles, and all sorts of other garbage (ok, do they need another person for that?). At some point the Captain of the unit tells his boss that he needs more staff for all the extra work comming in, or he can just pay x amount of hours in OT to get the work done. Often enough the OT is cheaper than gettin an extra staff member, and the staff is happy because they get to earn some extra OT.

Now we all know a good boss can reward his employees and also judge the amount of work they do if they are good at their job. That obviously didn’t happen here and that’s the issue

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Your levelheaded descriptions of what it’s like on the inside of the department. I hope you represent the majority of BPD people.

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It's also simply arbitrary. There are many people who work for the city that never get paid overtime. It's not because police work necessitates this system and others don't, it's because their union had the strength to force it and/or they received preferential treatment from politicians.

I'm not even saying police should never be paid overtime, but it's certainly inequitable to say "Hey officer you worked 20 hours of overtime this week. Here's a bunch of money." And "Hey teacher. You worked 20 hours of overtime this week. Here's no money."

In the end, any police officer can buy themselves a BMW, vacations and a home for their family while the rest of us city workers struggle with car payments and rent.

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And police officers can be forced to work it, so federal labor law has said workers like that are entitled to OT.

If you can't afford those things, then the value of your labor is low where you might want to consider changing jobs or moving.

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Call it anything you want. Doesn't change the fact the city hires various employees to do essential work and says they will pay some for overtime work and not others for no real reason.

Your second paragraph makes no sense. You're saying if you seeing something wrong/corrupt/inequitable in life you should run away from the problem and hide? And push the problem off to the next person to take Is that what you think the police union does? They don't speak up and fight for themselves?

Our city doesn't need everyone that makes less than the $100-300k police officers make to quit their jobs and move. That's absurd. And if you would accept someone taking more city funds than you for the same amount of work you're a fool and a pushover.

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Voting closed 5

at happy hour. Given access to BPD electronic records, the employment policy and procedures of the BPD, any lawyer worth a nickel will get the indicted off. Sadly the indicted ham sandwich defense shall include deposing every superior officer to include anti corruption officers on their payroll records. Nitpicking discrepancies, establishing that there are ongoing discrepancies with un-indicted officers and showing that the video evidence of the evidence warehouse is unreliable.

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He is a modern day day version of Eliot Ness and the untouchables.

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Did Eliot Ness have an orange nose?

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Voting closed 6

What is it 1950?
I can see what street my Amazon delivery person is on but we cant keep track of police?.
Why is it always the Feds uncovering corruption?

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Based on the BPD press statement, it was BPD that uncovered the corruption and brought in the feds.

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Voting closed 6

But why not State Charges?

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"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."

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Voting closed 14

Greed is ugly.

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Voting closed 5

Because the MA AG's office never investigates corruption unless it is by political rivals. Has been that way since Luther S. Harshbarger corrupted the office to the core. Electing an AG from somewhere outside of Middlesex county would help immensely to clean that office up from the politicized mess it has been for 30 years.

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Voting closed 9

is police "unions." Body cams have existed for 20 years and its been like pulling teeth to get cops to wear them, and we're still fighting to get them to like, y'know, turn the things on.
They don't want to be kept track of, they want unbridled access to whatever they want, and six figure salaries to do it.

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Voting closed 6

'So having a serial pedophile as union president is bad but falsifying OT is ALSO not OK? These standards are impossible which is why I, formerly a Obama voter, must reluctantly support Trump to protect our police officers from this attack on their honor'

- NYT interviewee in a diner in Fuckwad, OH probably.

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Voting closed 3

We should make sure that they get more allotted OT at a higher rate of pay in the next CBA with the city. Also, qualified immunity should extend to federal charges and anything having to do with HR, payroll, and hours worked.

Then there wouldn't be any crimes of this sort. Problem solved.

Whew, it's not even lunchtime yet. That was over quick!

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Voting closed 6

that we're testing investigating too much?

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You can't have the communities that pay your salary and overtime getting any ideas about being in charge of you!

Oh noes.

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Voting closed 16

Why does it always seem to require federal involvement for state and local officials to be held accountable in this state?

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Voting closed 4

Having the investigation done by someone outside the system being investigated is always th better plan.

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Voting closed 5

Massachusetts is outside of the system of Boston in the same way MA is outside of the system of the Federal government.

State leaders, particularly at the AGs office, are perfectly capable of enforcing MA law against local leaders. They just choose not to.

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Voting closed 5

This might be a good cop - bad cop.... nope, wrong metaphor...
ummm....
It might be the Walsh Administration and police leadership trying to chart a middle course - being seen as doing something (but not much), taking responsibility for good stewardship but shifting blame, making an example (but one of a small, mostly retired group, so the rest can clean house)...
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You know... quietly get the word to the rank and file... We're shocked and disappointed that any BPD officer would be so lacking as to file incorrect timecards. Transparency and Accountability are our middle names! at the same time as Gee, guys, it's too bad. If we had been able to keep this in-house, we could have dealt with it with some disciplinary statements on records and repaying the "errors", but it was the audit on that national-funded program and those effing Feds won't give anyone a break, completely out of our control, don't ya know... and Attention all other units - time to ratchet it back for a while!

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Voting closed 13

"abusing overtime" sounds like a euphemism for what happened. Plenty of employees "abuse" overtime, staying on the OT clock while their services are not really necessary. In this case, they falsified records and claimed to still be at their duty station long after they left, which is way beyond abuse.

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Voting closed 23

These pigs are so lazy that they couldn’t even just sit on their ass at the station to collect overtime. Nope. They had to do it from their couch while probably retweeting white supremacists or beating their wives.

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These folks worked in a building all day so they could do this, so dont @ me

When I worked for the MBTA and MassDOT as a contractor (not an employee). Every main exit had a finger print reader next to it.

You know why?

Because some politician several years ago got all huffy about "mbta overtime" so now all employees have to clock in and out USING THEIR FINGER TIPS.

Worst part is its rounded to the nearest 2 and 1/2 minutes. Seriously? I felt crappy rounding to the nearest 1/2 hour (per my contracting agency). What a shitty place to work.

(This is also why I left, the way I saw some employees treated was disgusting)

So tell me, why aren't non-beat officers doing this. Even if its a half baked effort. these guys worked normal hours in a building. Seems like this would have worked well for them.

oh right but the police union is more vocal than carmens and people hate the T (and love cops) so it wont ever happen.

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I'm pretty quick to thank BPD for good police work when I hear about it. I really do appreciate it.

But these officers aren't helping, and this wipes out a lot of the good work in their past. To a sad degree, a lot of all BPD's work. Sad.

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