For Immediate Release - January 04, 2010

Three Men Plead Guilty, Sentenced in Connection with MBTA No Show Jobs

BOSTON - A Saugus man pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court in connection with knowingly making or presenting false timesheets and not showing up for his job as a Construction Inspector at Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) job sites. Christopher Peatridge, age 64, pled guilty on December 31, 2009, to charges of Presentation of False Claims (2 counts) and Larceny over $250 (2 counts). Following the change of plea, Superior Court Judge Carol S. Ball sentenced Peatridge to two-and-a-half years in the House of Correction, one year to serve with the balance suspended for two years, two years concurrent probation and a $10,000 fine.

Two other men pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court on December 30, 2009, in connection with this case. Michael O'Toole, age 49, of Milton, and Francis Flaherty, age 52, of South Boston, each pled guilty to charges of Presentation of False Claims and Larceny over $250. Following the individual change of pleas, Superior Court Judge Carol S. Ball sentenced both O'Toole and Flaherty to two years in the House of Correction, suspended for one year, two years concurrent probation and 200 hours of community service.

Beginning in 2005, the Attorney General's Office and the Inspector General's Office (IG) conducted a joint investigation targeting no-show jobs in the MBTA's Design and Construction Department (D&C Department). The investigation focused on resident engineers and construction supervisors who were either rarely appearing for work or were not appearing at all. Both Flaherty and Peatridge worked at their MBTA job sites as construction inspectors, while O'Toole was employed as a resident engineer. The positions required that the men be on-site daily to oversee construction progress as it was completed by general contractors. Their supervision was necessary to ensure that contracts were carried out according to specifications and to protect the interest of long term public safety.

Investigators discovered that on multiple occasions Peatridge's MBTA time sheets showed him working, and getting paid by the MBTA for working, when in fact he worked few or no hours. Investigators determined that Peatridge operated his own security business on the side, and his business records and other corroborative records showed that between July 2004 and November 2004 Peatridge was paid by the MBTA for many days when in fact he was actually working for his own private security business, frequently out-of-state, and earned tens of thousands of dollars. The investigation established that Peatridge was traveling out-of-state for weeks at a time, staying in luxury hotels, and working his private security jobs, all while collecting his MBTA salary and benefits. Between April 2005 and June 2005, surveillance showed Peatridge again getting paid a full days wage for considerably less than a full day's work. On these days, which were supposed to start at 7:00 a.m., Peatridge would typically arrive for work after lunch and stay only a brief time.

Investigators also conducted surveillance on O'Toole and Flaherty and discovered that they too were being paid a full days wage by the MBTA for supervising outside contractors, but in fact were putting in considerably less than a full day's work. Based on surveillance, authorities discovered that on various dates from April 2004 to June 2005, O'Toole rarely worked at his job site for more than a few hours, and in some instances never appeared at the site at all. Investigators also discovered that on multiple occasions between June 2006 and September 2006 Flaherty worked considerably less than the eight hours indicated on his timesheet while still submitting for his full pay.

All three men made or presented false time sheets showing that they had worked a full eight hour day during the indicated time periods, when in fact they had either worked less than eight hours, or in some instances not at all. The men got paid based on the submission of these false time sheets.

Officials at the MBTA cooperated with investigators in the Attorney General's Office and IG's Office throughout the course of the investigation.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against all three men on September 11, 2008. O'Toole and Peatridge were arraigned on October 1, 2008, in Suffolk Superior Court where they plead not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Flaherty was arraigned the next day in Suffolk Superior Court where he entered a plea of not guilty and was also released on personal recognizance. On December 30, 2009, O'Toole and Flaherty pled guilty and were sentenced. Peatridge pled guilty to all charges and was sentenced on December 31, 2009.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General James O'Brien, Chief of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division, and Assistant Attorney General Marc Jones, of Attorney General Coakley's Corruption and Fraud Division. The case was investigated by Inspector Jim Lavin, of the Inspector General's Office, and Carl Mullen of the Attorney General's Financial Investigations Division with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police.