A fifth Massachusetts State Trooper was arrested and charged Wednesday in connection to an overtime abuse scandal that federal authorities have been investigating.
Daren DeJong, a state police trooper assigned to Troop E who has since retired, was charged with embezzlement, U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling announced. He is accused of receiving overtime pay for hours he did not work, officials said in a statement.
DeJong, 56, earned $179,000 in 2016, which included an estimated $63,000 in overtime pay. He is accused of receiving $14,062 for shifts he did not work or left early for.
"Mr. DeJong, who was sworn to uphold the law, betrayed the public trust by embezzling funds from the Massachusetts State Police," said Andrew E. Lelling, United State Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, in a statement. "Today’s arrest is another step in our ongoing effort to root out fraud and ensure that public funds are appropriately used."
According to the State Treasurer's Office, DeJong is receiving a monthly pension of $6,251. If convicted of overtime fraud, he risks losing that pension.
DeJong is a retired trooper who was assigned to Troop E, which was responsible for enforcing regulations along the Mass. Turnpike before it was disbanded after an internal audit revealed major overtime discrepancies.
Four other troopers were arrested for fraud in similar cases.
Gregory Raftery, 47, pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from a state agency receiving federal funds earlier this month. The three other state troopers who were arrested on the same charges were David Wilson, Paul Cesan and Gary Herman. All three pleaded not guilty.
The Uxbridge resident pleaded not guilty during his arraignment at U.S. District Court in Boston Wednesday afternoon.
His attorney Brad Bailey said DeJong will fight to clear his name.
"He is a law enforcement professional, he had a lengthy career, he understands what this process is all about, he understands how it works, and he has every intention of working within this process to ultimately clear his name," Bailey said.
In a statement, Massachusetts State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin said DeJong's alleged actions "contradict the values and conduct that we and the public demand of our personnel, and we will continue to hold our members accountable to the law and our own policies and regulations."