‘Serial Debt Fraudster': Ex-Stoneham Detective Sgt. Charged by Feds

"After moving in, Kennedy would intentionally withhold rent payments, despite making $141,000 - $187,000 a year from the Stoneham Police Department," according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Boston

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Less than two months ago, Robert Kennedy was a detective sergeant with the Stoneham Police Department. On Friday, the former high-ranking cop entered a federal courtroom in handcuffs and facing a federal criminal charge.

Kennedy had a beard and wore a T-shirt and baggy running pants after FBI agents arrested him during the early morning hours at his apartment in Stoneham.

The veteran police officer was the subject of an NBC10 Boston investigation that showed a history of evictions and unpaid civil judgements. He has been charged with wire fraud, according to a criminal complaint.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Boston, contained an affidavit from an FBI special agent who refers to Robert Kennedy as a "serial debt fraudster who has a trail of bad debts, collections, and unpaid judgments."

Our investigation has detailed Kennedy's 20-year history of evictions and unpaid civil judgments. Housing court records also raised questions about the truthfulness of his testimony and how he received $10,000 of taxpayer-funded rental assistance, despite a steady six-figure salary.

Those details are all echoed in the federal court documents.

Earlier this month, town leaders in Stoneham asked state authorities to investigate allegations against Kennedy, who resigned in February from the Stoneham Police Department.

After his initial appearance, Kennedy was released from federal custody under certain conditions. Those included surrendering his personal firearm, which was secured Friday morning by his former boss, Stoneham Police Chief James McIntyre, who confirmed to NBC10 Boston that he was present for the FBI arrest.

The federal complaint alleges Kennedy would live in the apartments rent-free by "taking advantage of the slow eviction process — which was further delayed because Kennedy's girlfriend filed fraudulent applications for housing assistance."

The complaint goes into detail on the allegations against Kennedy, analyzing everything from bank accounts, salaries, rent payments and debts.

An NBC10 investigation revealed allegations against Robert Kennedy, including the high-ranking officer’s 20-year history of evictions, unpaid judgments and even receiving taxpayer-funded rental assistance.

"The Town of Stoneham is grateful to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston and to the FBI for their diligent work on this matter. The Town and the Stoneham Police Department will continue to cooperate with their investigation as the case progresses," Town Administrator Dennis Sheehan and Chief McIntyre said in a statement.

In February, the NBC10 Boston Investigators found that Kennedy and his girlfriend racked up more than $50,000 of unpaid rent while being evicted from apartment complexes in Stoneham and Reading.

Over that three-year period, payroll records showed that Kennedy made more than a half-million dollars as a police officer.

The criminal complaint provides more details about how Kennedy allegedly mislead landlords and property managers to secure apartments before he stopped paying rent.

At the Stoneham complex, Kennedy falsely stated that he had not been the subject of any evictions, judgement or bankruptcies, the complaint said.

His girlfriend later allegedly delayed eviction proceedings in 2020 by applying for rental assistance, but did mention Kennedy on the application. The police officer made $187,000 that year.

As previously reported by NBC10 Boston, the couple received $10,000 in state rental assistance that was applied to their overdue rent balance.

Robert Kennedy, a detective sergeant with the Stoneham Police Department with a 20-year history of evictions and unpaid judgments, has retired after an NBC10 Boston investigation; his new landlords say they haven't received any payments.

At the Reading apartment complex, Kennedy's rental application was rejected because of a bankruptcy and poor credit history.

"I wanted to take a moment and explain our situation," Kennedy wrote to the property manager, according to the criminal complaint. "My credit has taken a hit because I was victim of identity theft from a family member. I continue to work with the credit agencies to correct many false obligations on my credit report. In addition, I make more than enough money to afford the apartment. I hope your company reconsiders this decision."

When they stopped paying rent, the couple once again submitted RAFT applications to delay eviction proceedings, the complaint said. On the application, Kennedy was listed as a tenant this time, but his income was only reported as $52,000.

As NBC10 Boston reported, Kennedy testified about the need for rental assistance during a court hearing, telling a judge he and his girlfriend were "overwhelmed" financially.

Kennedy and his girlfriend moved into their current Stoneham apartment last November and owe more than $14,000 in rent to landlords Peter and Aarti Goldstein, according to the criminal complaint.

The Goldsteins told NBC10 Boston last month that Kennedy bounced the security deposit and first month's rent check. They also discovered he used the Social Security number of a family member with the same first and last name to obtain a clean credit report.

According to the criminal complaint, there was only $8.04 in Kennedy's bank account when he wrote the checks.

"I feel like I was duped by a confidence man," Peter Goldstein told us.

On Friday morning, Kennedy retreated back inside the federal courthouse when he spotted an NBC10 Boston camera waiting outside. He later exited a different door with his attorney.

NBC10 Boston
Robert Kennedy declines to comment on the allegations against him to NBC10 Boston

When NBC10 Boston caught up a couple blocks away, Kennedy and federal public defender Sandra Gant declined to answer any questions about the allegations in the court documents.

While awaiting his next court date, Kennedy will now return to the Goldsteins' Stoneham property where he's been living rent-free since last November as yet another landlord tries to evict him.

More on former Stoneham Det. Sgt. Robert Kennedy

The NBC10 Boston Investigators discovered a high-ranking officer with the Stoneham Police Department with a history of evictions and unpaid civil judgments, despite a steady six-figure salary. Experts say the issue raises credibility questions and has a negative impact on public trust.

Even After Investigation, Stoneham Cop Hasn't Paid Dime of Rent to New Landlord

Stoneham Cop With History of Stiffing Landlords Placed on Administrative Leave

Ryan Kath can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

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