Former Springfield Police Officer Arraigned for Allegedly Stealing Nearly $400,000 from Evidence Room
SPRINGFIELD – A former narcotics evidence officer at the Springfield Police Department has been arraigned on charges that he allegedly stole nearly $400,000 from the evidence room, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Kevin M. Burnham was arraigned today in Hampden Superior Court on the charges of Larceny Over $250 (6 counts) and Larceny Under $250 (1 count). Burnham pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on personal recognizance with the conditions that he surrenders his passport and gives notice to probation if he travels outside of Massachusetts. Judge Constance Sweeney presided over today’s arraignment.
A Hampden County Grand Jury returned indictments against Burnham on Dec. 30. Burnham is due back in Hampden Superior Court on Jan. 19 for clarification of counsel and to set a further court date.
After an internal investigation was initiated due to missing narcotics money, the Springfield Police Department contacted the Massachusetts State Police, which then referred the matter to the AG’s Office. The AG’s Office began an immediate investigation into the matter in March 2015.
Burnham was the narcotics evidence officer at the Springfield Police Department from approximately 1984 until his retirement on July 25, 2014. Burnham oversaw the storage and safekeeping of drugs, drug paraphernalia, and cash seized in drug cases.
Burnham’s role was to retrieve evidence that was deposited into the secure evidence room by officers, who initially counted the cash seized and attached the evidence receipt tags. Burnham would recount the cash, place it in envelopes and secure those envelopes in one of two locked safes inside the evidence room. Burnham was also in charge of the disbursement of the money when a case was finished.
The AG’s investigation revealed that between Dec. 2009 and July 2014, Burnham allegedly stole cash from the evidence envelopes of more than 170 drug cases totaling almost $400,000.
In some instances, Burnham allegedly “shorted” the cash count by taking money when he recounted it. Burnham also allegedly replaced money he stole from various evidence envelopes with previously seized counterfeit money or with newer money that was put into circulation after the original seizure date. The investigation also uncovered more than 160 empty evidence envelopes that were missing the cash that was seized.
These charges are allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General James O’Brien, Chief of the AG’s Public Integrity Division, and Assistant Attorney General Heather Valentine, of AG Healey’s Western Massachusetts Office. It was investigated by Sallyann Nelligan, Director of the AG’s Financial Investigations Division, the Massachusetts State Police, the U.S. Secret Service, the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, and the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. The Springfield Police Department assisted in and fully cooperated with this investigation.