Former state trooper from Hopkinton agrees to plead guilty in OT scandal

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A former state trooper who was taken into custody from his Hopkinton home in December agreed to plead guilty as part of the overtime abuse scandal that has roiled the Massachusetts State Police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts announced last month.

As part of the deal, prosecutors were to recommend a sentence of between six months to a year in jail for Heath McAuliffe.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the 40-year-old McAuliffe will plead guilty to one count of embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds, admitting that he received $7,860 for overtime hours when he either did not work the shifts or only worked portions of shifts from August 2015 to August 2016, and that he submitted false paperwork.

The charge of theft of government funds provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

According to published reports, McAuliffe, who became a trooper in 2000, was suspended without pay in 2018 and resigned in January. He had been assigned to Troop E, which was responsible for the Massachusetts Turnpike until the unit was disbanded last year following reports about the scandal.

In 2016 McAuliffe earned approximately $165,000, of which about $61,000 was from overtime pay. The prior year McAuliffe was paid about $180,000, including about $83,500 in overtime pay.

McAuliffe was to be the eighth trooper to plead guilty as part of the ongoing federal investigation. A date for the plea hearing had not been set.