Four Massachusetts State Police troopers who were relieved of duty earlier this week have now been suspended without pay in the department's ongoing overtime pay scandal.
Duty status hearings were held Wednesday at state police headquarters for the four department members, a state police spokesman said. As a result, all four were suspended without pay while internal and external investigations are conducted.
The agency said Monday that its ongoing audit identified discrepancies between overtime pay earned and actual hours worked for the four department members in question.
Internal affairs cases have been opened for the four troopers and the information has been referred to state and federal prosecutors for potential prosecution.
A total of 46 troopers are now under investigation in connection to the overtime scandal and several are facing criminal charges as part of a wide-ranging federal investigation.
The latest cases stem from traffic enforcement shifts the four were assigned to work when they were members of the former state police Troop E, which was responsible for patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike and the tunnels.
The audit of overtime traffic enforcement shifts is continuing amid other reforms, including the installation of GPS systems in cruisers, regular audits of the 50 highest earners and a pilot program for body cameras expected to be in place by early next year.
According to a Boston Globe report published Monday, state police internal affairs investigators saw warning signs of the overtime pay scandal years ago, yet the agency failed to act.
Investigators in 2014 were looking for evidence that two troopers were secretly escorting funeral processions and taking cash under the table, but during that probe they found that troopers had routinely filed for more than 30 hours a week in overtime and paid details they either didn't work or didn't complete, according to internal files reviewed by the newspaper. Those details never made it into the investigators' final report.
A state police spokesman said he was "unaware of any systemic response" to potential overtime discrepancies pinpointed in agency audits.