BOSTON (WHDH) — A retired Massachusetts State Police trooper arrested Wednesday in connection with the ongoing investigation of overtime abuse is set to face a judge.
Daren DeJong, of Uxbridge, made an initial appearance in federal court Wednesday after being arrested and charged with embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds. He denied the allegations against him.
“Mr. DeJong, who was sworn to uphold the law, betrayed the public trust by embezzling funds from the Massachusetts State Police,” Lelling said in a statement. “Today’s arrest is another step in our ongoing effort to root out fraud and ensure that public funds are appropriately used.”
DeJong, a former trooper assigned to Troop E, allegedly received overtime pay for hours that he either did not work or shifts in which he departed one to seven hours early.
The alleged conduct involved overtime pay from selective enforcement initiatives, including the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort (AIRE) program and the X-Team initiative, which aim at reducing crashes on Interstate 90 through an enhanced presence of troopers.
DeJong was required to work the entire duration of the shifts, either four or eight hours, and truthfully report citations issued during those shifts. However, he allegedly submitted citations that were either never issued or ones that took place before the overtime shift altered to look like they happened during the shift.
DeJong earned $179,000 in 2016, which included about $63,000 in overtimes, Lelling said. Just over $14,000 was connected to AIRE and X-Team shifts that he either left early or did not show up for, Lelling added.
“As alleged, Mr. DeJong abused his position and betrayed the public’s trust by stealing thousands of dollars from overtime shifts he did not work,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division. “Instead of enforcing the rules of the road and cracking down on aggressive drivers, he selfishly lined his pockets with paychecks from bogus shifts at the expense of hard-working taxpayers. The FBI would like to thank the Massachusetts State Police for their cooperation, support, and professionalism during the course of this investigation.”
On June 27, 2018, former Lieutenant David Wilson, 57, of Charlton; Trooper Gary Herman, 45, of Chester; and former Trooper Paul Cesan, 50, of Southwick, were arrested and charged with the same crime. On July 2, 2018, former Trooper Gregory Raftery, 47, of Westwood pleaded guilty.
The charge of theft of government funds provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss.
“The actions alleged in today’s arrest contradict the values and conduct that we and the public demand of our personnel, and we will continue to hold our members accountable to the law and our own policies and regulations,” Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin said. “We have played a lead role in uncovering overtime fraud within the Department, and we continue to audit overtime earnings and share our findings with state and federal prosecutors. I continue to be inspired by the overwhelming majority of Troopers who do their jobs each day with professionalism, integrity, and courage. It is through their actions and the example they set that we will restore the public’s trust in the Massachusetts State Police.”
(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)