MIDDLESEX, MA – The payroll director of Massachusetts State Police is being charged with theft of department funds while on the job, following an internal investigation conducted by the agency, reported Boston Herald.
Denise Ezekiel will be arraigned Monday at Framingham District Court on a count of larceny over $250 in connection with allegedly misappropriating more than $23,000 in travel and reimbursement funds, said Middlesex District Attorney spokeswoman Meghan Kelly.
As a result of the pending criminal investigation, MSP placed Ezekiel on unpaid, indefinite leave in November when a number of payroll “irregularities” were discovered. Around the same time, an internal investigation was launched, department spokesman David Procopio said.
“We noticed irregularities in some payroll data and conducted a further investigation,” Procopio added.
“It was more or less immediately that she was placed on leave.”
Procopio confirmed the allegation of theft was committed through Ezekiel’s role as a payroll supervisor for the state police. As a result, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office announced the charges against Ezekiel yesterday.
The crime comes amid a series of controversies that have resulted in two federal lawsuits and an investigation into possible overtime abuse in the department.
A critical internal review released in March revealed that more than 20 current and former troopers may have been paid for overtime shifts that were never worked in 2016.
Consequently, some of those troopers have retired, and others are on administrative leave, according to the Herald.
Gov. Charlie Baker and state police Col. Kerry Gilpin announced a set of reforms earlier this month. As a result of changes, leaders said the former state police division assigned to the Mass Pike, Troop E, would be disbanded.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is investigating the overtime allegations to determine whether criminal charges are warranted. Moreover, there is a simultaneous internal affairs investigation underway.
Furthermore, the department is dealing with fallout from the Troopergate scandal. In this case, two state troopers filed federal lawsuits alleging that revisions were ordered to a police report to remove embarrassing remarks from the arrest report of Alli Bibaud, 30. She is the daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud.