- Office of the Inspector General
Media Contact for Former State Troopers Paid $110,000 to the Commonwealth for Unworked Overtime
Two former Massachusetts State Police (MSP) troopers agreed to pay a combined total of $110,000 they received for overtime that they allegedly did not work, Attorney General Maura Healey and Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha announced.
Kevin O’Brien and Robert Freniere were members of the MSP’s now-disbanded Troop E, which patrolled the Massachusetts Turnpike. In consent judgments filed in Suffolk Superior Court, attorneys for Attorney General Healey and Inspector General Cunha allege that the former troopers submitted time cards between 2015 and 2017 for overtime they did not work. These allegations arose out of an MSP investigation of overtime abuse within Troop E, which found that multiple members reported working overtime hours they in actuality did not. The purpose of the overtime shifts was to reduce accidents, crashes and injuries on state highways. This work required troopers to be highly visible and on patrol, targeting aggressive and speeding drivers.
The Commonwealth’s complaint alleges that Trooper O’Brien submitted time cards for over 1,000 hours of patrols across 480 shifts when he was supposed to be working, but, in fact, was not. In accordance with a consent judgment filed in Suffolk Superior Court, he paid $80,000 to the Commonwealth.
According to the allegations in the complaint, Trooper Freniere submitted time cards for over 360 hours across 136 shifts when he was supposed to be working, but, in fact, was not. In accordance with a consent judgment filed in Suffolk Superior Court, he paid $30,000 to the Commonwealth.
“As a result of our collaborative efforts, these troopers are now required to return state funds they falsely received for overtime hours they put in for, but did not actually work,” said AG Healey. “Our office will continue to work with the IG’s Office to hold accountable state employees who falsely obtain taxpayer dollars and undermine public trust in our state agencies.”
“Not only did these troopers take taxpayer money for time they didn’t work, but more importantly they failed to be at their posts when they should have been keeping our roadways safe,” Inspector General Cunha said. “These settlements show that we will hold accountable those who abuse their positions, and we will work to recover public funds when they are wrongfully diverted.”
This case was handled by Lead Counsel William Durkin and Associate Counsel Meghan MacKenzie, both of Inspector General Cunha’s Civil Recovery Unit, with assistance from Director David Andrews, Senior Investigator Peter Bailey and Investigators Elijah Jenkins and Bryan Stout, all of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) Division of State Police Oversight, OIG General Counsel Susanne O’Neil, and Division Chief Amy Crafts of Attorney General Healey’s False Claims Division.
The False Claims Division was created by AG Healey in 2015 to safeguard public funds by enforcing high standards of integrity against companies and individuals that make false statements to obtain government contracts or funds. Anyone with information about suspected fraud or abuse relating to state or municipal contracts or funds is urged to contact the False Claims Division’s tip line at 617-963-2600.
The OIG’s Civil Recovery Unit pursues civil actions to recover funds lost due to fraud, false claims and other wrongful conduct. It works closely with the AGO, the OIG’s other investigative units as well as other state agencies and local governments. The OIG operates a hotline for reporting fraud involving public funds or property at 800-322-1323 or IGO-FightFraud@mass.gov.