- This page, Disposition Agreement in the Matter of Richard Theroux, is offered by
- State Ethics Commission
Settlement Disposition Agreement in the Matter of Richard Theroux
Table of Contents
The State Ethics Commission (“Commission”) and Respondent Richard Theroux enter into this Disposition Agreement pursuant to Section 3 of the Commission’s Enforcement Procedures. This Agreement constitutes a consented-to final order enforceable in the Superior Court, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B, § 4(j).
On October 20, 2021, pursuant to G.L. c. 268B § 4(a), the Commission initiated a preliminary inquiry into possible violations of the conflict of interest law, G.L. c. 268A, by Theroux. On February 17, 2021, the Commission concluded its inquiry and found reasonable cause to believe that Theroux violated G.L. c. 268A, §§ 6, 23(b)(2) and 23(b)(4).
The Commission and Theroux now agree to the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Findings of Fact
- Theroux began serving as a member of the Hampden County Regional Retirement Board (HCRRB) in 1996. He was elected Chair of the HCRRB in 2008 and served as Chair until December 2021.
- The Massachusetts Association of Contributory Retirement Systems (MACRS) holds an annual conference in Hyannis.
- Theroux attended the MACRS conference every year from 2007 to 2019.
- Each year from 2007 to 2019 when Theroux attended the MACRS conference, he lodged at property he owned in Mashpee.
- The HCRRB requires its members who attend conferences to submit a ‘Travel Reimbursement Form’ and copies of receipts of their expenses before the HRCCB will reimburse the members for their expenses incurred while attending the conference.
- Each year from 2007 to 2019, Theroux submitted a Travel Reimbursement Form that included claimed expenses for lodging.
- Each Travel Reimbursement Form submitted by Theroux annually from 2007 to 2019 included purported lodging receipts that Theroux personally fabricated. Theroux made the fake receipts appear as if Theroux had been charged for staying in a rental property when he had not been. One receipt included a fictitious address and three included false signatures purportedly of another individual. None of the receipts included the address of the Mashpee property Theroux owned.
- The amount Theroux sought reimbursement for each year ranged from $330 to $475. From 2007 to 2019, Theroux sought a total of $5,650 in reimbursement from the HCRRB for MACRS annual conference related lodging expenses he did not incur.
- Each Travel Reimbursement Form is signed by three members of the HCRRB for approval to be placed on the HCRRB’s list of monthly expenditures. In 2017, Theroux, as an HCRRB member, signed for approval his own Travel Reimbursement Forms in which he sought reimbursement for expenses he falsely claimed to have incurred while attending the MACRS annual conference.
- The HCRRB votes each month to approve its monthly expenditures, which are listed in a document that is also signed by three members of the HCRRB. Theroux signed the monthly expenditures each time his request for reimbursement for expenses he falsely claimed to have incurred while attending the MACRS conference appeared among the monthly expenditures in 2014, 2015, 2017 2018. Theroux also voted to approve each monthly expenditure each time his request for reimbursement for expenses while attending the MACRS conference appeared among the monthly expenditures.
- From 2007 and 2019, the HCRRB approved and paid, and Theroux received, a total of $5,650 in reimbursement payments for MACRS annual conference related lodging expenses he did not incur.
- After an audit conducted by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission raised concerns about the receipts Theroux had submitted with his requests for reimbursement for his claimed expenses in connection with his attendance at the MACRS annual conference, Theroux repaid the HCRRB the $5,650 he had received.
Conclusions of Law
- As a member of the HCRRB, Theroux was a state employee as that term is defined in G.L. c. 268A, § 1(g).
Theroux violated Section 6
- Section 6 of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a state employee from participating as such an employee in a particular matter in which to his knowledge, he, his immediate family or partner, a business organization with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment, has a financial interest.
- Each decision the HCRRB made to reimburse Theroux for any MACRS annual conference-related expense he claimed to have incurred was a particular matter in which Theroux had a financial interest.
- Theroux knew he had a financial interest in the HCRRB’s decisions to reimburse him for his claimed conference-related expenses.
- Theroux participated in the HCRRB’s decisions to reimburse his claimed conference-related expenses by, as a HCRRB member, signing his own request for reimbursement in 2017, signing the HCRRB’s monthly expenditures that included a reimbursement to him each year from 2007 to 2019, and voting to approving those reimbursements. In so doing, Theroux violated § 6.
Theroux violated Section 23(b)(2)
- Section 23(b)(2)(ii) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits a public employee from knowingly, or with reason to know, using or attempting to use their official position to secure for such officer, employee or others unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are of substantial value, and which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.
- Being reimbursed for expenses that were not incurred is an unwarranted privilege that is not properly available to HCRRB members or other state employees.
- The unwarranted privileges were of substantial value because each request Theroux made each year from 2007 to 2019 for reimbursement for lodging expenses that were not incurred was for $50 or more.
- Theroux was aware that he did not incur the expenses for which he sought reimbursement when he submitted fabricated receipts to support his claim of reimbursement for lodging expense while attending the MACRS conference each year between 2007 and 2019 and when he approved the reimbursement to himself, and that as Chair he was in a position to avoid scrutiny of his false reimbursement claims.
- By, while serving as HCRRB Chair submitting phony receipts to support his false claims for reimbursement for expenses he did not incur and by as HCRRB Chair approving those reimbursements, Theroux knowingly used his official position to secure for himself substantially valuable unwarranted privileges not properly available to similarly situated individuals. In so doing, Theroux violated G. L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(2)(ii).
Theroux Violated Section 23(b)(4)
- Section 23(b)(4) of G.L. c. 268A prohibits public employees from presenting a false or fraudulent claim to his employer for any payment or benefit of substantial value.
- As a member and Chair, Theroux was an employee of the HCRRB and the HCRRB was his employer within the meaning of § 23(b)(4).
- Theroux presented a false and fraudulent claim for payment to his employer, the HCRRB, each year between 2007 and 2019 when he submitted a request for reimbursement for claimed MACRS conference-related lodging expenses that he in fact did not incur. By so doing, Theroux violated G.L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(4).
In view of the foregoing violations of G.L. c. 268A by Theroux, the Commission has determined that the public interest would be served by the disposition of this matter without further enforcement proceedings, on the following terms and conditions agreed to by Theroux:
(1) that Theroux pay to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with such payment to be delivered to the Commission, the sum of $10,000 as a civil penalty for violating G.L. c. 268A, §§ 6, 23(b)(2)(ii) and 23(b)(4); and
(2) that Theroux waive all rights to contest, in this or any other administrative or judicial proceeding to which the Commission is or may be a party, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and terms and conditions contained in this Disposition Agreement.
By signing below, Theroux acknowledges that he has personally read this Disposition Agreement, that it is a public document, and that he agrees to its terms and conditions.