BOSTON (WWLP) – A retired Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Trooper was sentenced in federal court Thursday for overtime abuse at the Massachusetts State Police.
The trooper, 60-year-old Daren DeJong of Uxbridge was sentenced to two years of probation. The first six months will be served in home confinement. DeJong has to pay a fine of $5,500 and $14,062 in restitution. In January 2019, he pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds.
DeJong is a retired trooper that was assigned to Troop E which was responsible for enforcing traffic regulations and enforcing criminal law along the Massachusetts Turnpike. It was eliminated in 2018 as a result of a scandal where multiple troopers in the unit were submitting and being paid for overtime shifts they did not work.
DeJong received overtime pay for shifts that he left 1 to 7 hours early from or shifts he reportedly workd but did not. He received overtime pay for selective enforcement initiatives such as the Accident and Injury Reduction Effort program (AIRE) and the “X-Team” initiative. Both initiatives are suppose to reduce accidents, crashes and injuries on the Pike through more Massachusetts State Police Trooper presence and target vehicles that are traveling too fast.
DeJong was required to work the entire duration of the shifts and truthfully report the dates, times and sectors of deployment on the citations that were issued during the shift. DeJong was able to hide the fraud by submitting citations that were issued outside the overtime shift, altering the citations to make them look like the citations were given during the overtime shift and/or submitting citations that did not take place or never issued.
In 2015 and 2016, the MSP received annual benefits from the U.S. Department of Transportation in excess of $10,000, which were authorized to fund various federal grants. DeJong earned $200,416 in 2016, including $68,394 in overtime and $14,000 was accredited to X-Team and AIRE shifts that DeJong never did or left early from.
DeJong is the final defendant of eight to be sentenced in the MSP Troop E overtime abuse case.