Three Massachusetts State Police troopers have been arrested on federal theft charges, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts.
Prosecutors allege David Wilson, Gary Herman and Paul Cesan, who were all assigned to now-disbanded Troop E, received overtime pay for hours they didn't work or for shifts in which they left early.
Wilson and Cesan recently retired, while Herman has been serving a suspension.
Authorities said their investigation zeroed in on troopers filing for overtime in enforcement initiatives, including the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort program and the "X-Team" initiative, which were developed to reduced crashes and injuries on Interstate 90.
Prosecutors said Wilson, who was the officer-in-charge of several overtime shifts, claimed to have worked approximately 170 overtime shifts in 2016 that would have equated $68,000 in overtime pay, when in fact he earned about $12,450 in overtime pay. He earned $230,000 that year.
Cesan allegedly earned $29,000 in overtime pay he didn't work, while Herman allegedly received $12,468 for shifts he either left early or did not show up to work.
All three were charged with theft from an agency receiving government funds and were released on bail during their arraignment Wednesday afternoon.
Troop E, which was responsible for patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike and tunnels, was disbanded in April after 21 troopers were implicated in an overtime scandal following an internal audit looking at 2016 payroll figures. Troopers' vehicles have also been fixed with GPS systems to better track their whereabouts.
The internal audit was started after state police determined the need to review payments as a result of an internal affairs investigation.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said it was premature to say it was a systemic problem within the Massachusetts State Police, but said his team is still looking into it.
In a statement, State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin said the agency supported and was cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
"As part of the ongoing implementation of our wide ranging reforms, we continue to audit overtime payments received by department members, and to provide the results of those audits to prosecutors for their review for potential criminality," Gilpin said.
A spokesperson for Gov. Charlie Baker said his administration and Gilpin are still implementing reforms.
"Governor Baker believes any member of the department who is found to have stolen public funds must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," his spokesperson said.
The law enforcement agency has been embroiled in controversies since October 2017, when a trooper alleged he was ordered to change the arrest report of a judge's daughter. The allegations eventually led to the resignation of Gilpin's predecessor.