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Victimization of the Massachusetts State Police



If the oldest, largest and arguably most prestigious law enforcement agency in New England can become a victim of multiple frauds, what does that say about your organization’s exposure?

One of the first signs of trouble at the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) began with Denise Ezekiel, director of payroll since 2013. Payroll records showed that Ezekiel had been receiving unauthorized travel and training reimbursements from June 2016 through October 2017. During 33 pay periods, Ezekiel received fraudulent reimbursements in 29 of those periods — ranging from $500 to $950 — for a total of $23,900.

“A financial discrepancy was discovered and brought to the attention of the Department’s Director of Finance as well as the Department’s Chief Administrative Officer,” wrote Major John M. Lannon of MSP’s Division of Investigative Services in court documents.

Major Lannon went on to state that Ezekiel’s responsibilities as payroll director included the final auditing of all travel and training reimbursement entries during each pay period. A search of MSP reimbursement records showed no documentation to support the reimbursements she received. During an interview with MSP investigators, Ezekiel admitted that she hadn’t been authorized to receive the reimbursements, according to court records.

On June 25, Ezekiel pleaded guilty in Framingham District Court to a single count of larceny over $250 related to the fraudulent payroll reimbursements. Under Ezekiel’s plea agreement, she forfeited more than $17,000 in accrued vacation and sick leave that she would’ve received after the MSP terminated her. Those funds went toward her restitution payment, and, in addition, she was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service. Ezekiel, who had no previous criminal record, was fired from her job after the court accepted her guilty plea. (See Former State Police payroll head pleads guilty to stealing $23,000 from agency, by Matt Rocheleau, Boston Globe, June 25.)

 


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