A former state trooper who pleaded guilty in connection with the ongoing investigation of overtime abuse at the Massachusetts State Police Department said in a letter to a judge this week that his superior officers were aware of the scandal.
"When I first learned that I was going to face federal criminal charges, I felt it was unfair," Heath McAuliffe said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Denise Casper ahead of his sentencing next week. "I told myself that almost all of my colleagues at Troop E were doing the same thing, that it wasn't really a big deal, and that it wasn't fair that I was one of a handful of Troopers being singled out for federal prosecution."
He goes on to express contrition, saying "It really doesn't matter that many other Troopers were doing the same thing, that our superior officers knew about it, or that only a handful of us were singled out for federal prosecution. I am responsible for my own conduct; I chose to commit this crime; and I must now face the consequences of my actions, whatever they may be."
McAuliffe, 40, of Hopkinton, was arrested in December on an embezzlement charge. Prosecutors allege he received $9,825 in overtime pay for hours he didn't work or for shifts for which he left at least an hour early.
He was the eighth trooper to be arrested and charged in connection with the ongoing scandal, which broke in early 2018.
The troopers were all members of the now-eliminated Troop E, which had been assigned to enforce criminal and traffic laws along the Massachusetts Turnpike.
At least 30 state police troopers have been investigated as part of the ongoing overtime pay scandal, which was exposed by an internal audit.
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In the wake of the scandal, GPS locators were activated for more than 1,000 state police cruisers as part of the ongoing reforms launched by Gov. Charlie Baker.