Nov 25 2013

Former Winchendon police officer accused of stealing from union

Dr. Q

The Telegram & Gazette reports:

A former Winchendon police officer is expected to be arraigned Dec. 4 on a charge that he stole from the Winchendon Police Association’s funds.

The former officer, Martin J. Rose, who served as president of the police union in Winchendon, has been charged by State Police working for District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.’s office with larceny over $250. He is charged with withdrawing $6,331 from the police association’s accounts between July 7, 2010, and Aug. 2, 2013. A summons was issued in Winchendon District Court for him to appear for arraignment Dec. 4.

Mr. Rose, a police officer in Winchendon for nine years, resigned Aug. 27. State police were called in by Winchendon Police Chief Scott Livingston on Sept. 20 to investigate discrepancies in the association’s funds. State Police investigator Sgt. James S. Nanof said Mr. Rose admitted the misuse of the funds when he was interviewed about the missing money.

Mr. Rose admits he took the money, but said in an interview Friday he borrowed it to pay for food for his children and heat in his home.

“I can tell you right now the money’s been paid back,” he said, adding that the Police Association has not accepted the payment. He said the check is in the possession of State Police.

This case is quite similar to one going on in Northborough where another police officer was indicted after allegedly stealing from his union while serving as its president.

Oct 25 2013

Former Northborough police officer indicted for stealing from union

Dr. Q

A former Northborough police officer who previously resigned after being accused of stealing from the police union has been indicted. The MetroWest Daily News reports:

The former head of the Northborough Police patrolman’s union has been indicted on a charge he stole more than $25,000 from the union over a three-year period, the Worcester district attorney’s office said on Friday.

Nathan W.S. Fiske Sr., 33, of 318 Holden St., Holden was indicted by a Worcester County grand jury on Thursday on larceny of more than $250 by a common scheme.

Fiske is scheduled to be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court Nov. 6.

Fiske, who was a Northborough Police officer for six years, recently resigned from the force.

Authorities say Fiske stole more than $25,000 from the Massachusetts Coalition of Police (Mass. C.O.P.) Local 165, between Dec. 17, 2009 and March 14, 2013. He was the president of the union from September 2008 through May 2012.

“This was done over a period of time,” said current Local 165 President Detective Jeff Noel. “It wasn’t like he took one big chunk. He took smaller chunks.”

Each of the 25 union members paid $12 a week for union dues. Noel later found out that the union was at least three years behind on its dues for Mass. C.O.P., which was about $4,800.

“We’re up-to-date now,” said Noel. “There was a little bit left. We were able to pay back the dues.”

The thefts were discovered after Noel became union president and had the account switched from Fiske’s name in the spring. Union members noticed that more than $25,000 was missing.

Because of that deficit an officer who attended an annual Mass. C.O.P. conference in Hyannis this year had to pay for it out of pocket rather than have it paid for by the union.

Noel said he could not talk about the specifics of the case against Fiske.

“I didn’t do the investigation so I can’t get into anything of that nature,” Noel said.

Update (10/27/2013): Used a more thorough article.

Aug 17 2013

Watertown cop who stole ID to get prescription drugs pleads guilty

Dr. Q reports:

A retired Watertown police officer faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after he pleaded guilty today in federal court to stealing an ID while on the force and using it to get oxycodone and other prescription drugs, according to United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office.

Joseph Deignan, 58, of Framingham was convicted today at his plea hearing of unlawful possession of a controlled substance by fraud and fraud in connection with identification documents, according to a statement from Ortiz’s office. Judge Douglas P. Woodlock set Deignan’s sentencing for 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15.

Federal authorities said that before Deignan retired from the police force in February 2012, he stole a driver’s license from an individual while working as a traffic supervisor for the Watertown Police Department in 2010 and used it to forge prescriptions for oxycodone and other drugs in the victim’s name.

Deignan forged over 100 prescriptions using various doctors’ information since May 2010, and used the stolen ID to fill the scripts, authorities said.

According to an affidavit obtained from the US Attorney’s office in March, Deignan traveled to at least three different CVS pharmacies to fill the prescriptions, including ones located in Framingham and Marlborough.

According to the affidavit, a Framingham CVS pharmacist alerted the authorities of possible prescription fraud in November. Deignan was arrested in early December at a CVS pharmacy in Marlborough after employees were informed of the situation by police, according to the affidavit.

When he was arrested, Deignan allegedly told Marlborough officers that he was addicted to pain medication, and had been for some time, according to the affidavit.

Aug 16 2013

Ludlow police lieutenant charged with stealing drugs from evidence locker

Dr. Q

The Republican reports:

Ludlow Police Lt. Thomas F. Foye was at work Thursday morning when investigators found cocaine in his right front uniform pocket after he was seen searching evidence bags in the locked narcotics locker at the police station, according to court records.

Foye, 49, of Valley View Drive, denied charges of cocaine possession and larceny of a drug at his arraignment Thursday afternoon in Palmer District Court.

Judge Patricia T. Poehler ordered Foye to turn in all his firearms, as well as his license to carry a firearm, to the Ludlow Police Department. She also ordered him to remain drug free, undergo a substance abuse evaluation and to submit to random drug screens, as conditions of his release.

Wearing a white undershirt, Foye said little during the arraignment. The details of the charges against Foye were not read in court. His attorney was David K. Chivers, who was appointed for bail only. Foye will return to court on Oct. 1 for a pretrial conference.

Assistant Attorney General Marina Moriarty is prosecuting the case. She said the bail was agreed to by Chivers. Poehler told Foye that because this is a drug-related case, he is entitled to request an exam to determine if he is a drug dependent person.

Poehler told Foye he must keep the Probation Department aware of where he is living and not commit a crime, as additional conditions of his release. The charges were brought by state police.

After his arraignment, Foye was whisked away in an unmarked police cruiser. He left out the back door, apparently to avoid the media waiting for his exit outside.

Foye, a longtime police officer, recently was named a provisional lieutenant, and was formerly a sergeant in the detective bureau. He previously also worked as the department’s D.A.R.E. officer – a role in which he was charged with teaching students in grades 2, 4, 5 and 7 about the dangers of drug use.

Foye’s more recent history at the department includes an incident in which a suspect in a drug case allegedly went to his home to intimidate him for his role in the investigation.

The suspect was convicted in January of 2012 on a range of charges, including possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He was convicted trespassing, intimidation of a witness, and resisting arrest for the incident at Foye’s home, during which he threatened to “get even” with Foye from jail and then chest-bumped him, leading to a scuffle.

Last year, Foye participated in a forum at Ludlow High School where he warned parents and residents about the growing danger of prescription drug abuse. He said the drug problem in Ludlow is the worst he has seen in the 25 years he has been working for the Police Department.

Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni said Thursday it is too early for him to tell if Foye’s arrest will have any collateral effects on any current or recent prosecutions involving the Ludlow Police Department.

Mastroianni said his office will evaluate any possible ways Foye’s arrest might affect prosecutions as more facts are gathered about the situation which led to the arrest.

Check the full article here for details about how he was allegedly caught.

Jul 12 2013

Boston police officer charged with stealing explosives

Dr. Q

The Boston Herald reports:

A Boston police officer is set to be arraigned this morning in Plymouth District Court on charges he stole military-grade explosives and stored them in his Plymouth home, officials said.

Officer Kirk Merricks was arrested last night and charged with 11 counts of possession of an explosive device, four counts of receiving stolen property and one count of illegal possession of ammunition, Plymouth Police Chief Michael E. Botieri said.

Plymouth officers were called to Merricks’ home shortly after 2 p.m. yesterday when a resident there discovered what she believed were suspicious items, Botieri said.

Boston police said Merricks was placed on administrative leave with pay following last night’s arrest.

I wish my job would give me a paid vacation if I was arrested for stealing military-grade explosives.

Update (same day as original post: The Boston Globe has more information:

The [Plymouth police] chief said Merricks’ estranged wife contacted his department on Thursday after she found what she feared were explosives in parts of the house and in a shed on the couple’s home on Paddington Way.

The State Police Bomb Squad and Plymouth police searched the property and discovered the explosives, which included at least one hand grenade, explosive detonation cords, blasting caps and a former of TNT explosive, the chief said.

Neighbors were asked to stay inside their homes, but were not evacuated during the search, the chief said.

He said his officers are currently trying to track the history of the recovered munitions, but said detectives believe they were stolen because they are military-grade, and not publicly available.

“They are obviously not anything that civilians should possess,’’ Botieri said. “We believe it’s all stolen. It’s not something you can go out and buy without the correct permits.’’

According to a law enforcement source familiar with the invesitgation, the military-grade devices found in the Plymouth home are not the kind used by the Boston police department.

In addition, Botteiri said, his officers were called to the Paddington Way home where they found Merricks and his wife engaged in a heated argument. Officers left without making an arrest, but the chief said Merricks’ wife has since obtained a restraining order barring Merricks from living in the Paddington Way home.

Jun 28 2013

Northborough officer resigns amid accusations he stole money from union

Dr. Q

A Northborough police officer has resigned after being accused of stealing approximately $25,000 from the police union which he was president of until recently. No criminal charges have been filed yet, but State Police are investigating (Source: The MetroWest Daily News).

Details here:

A six-year police officer resigned last week amid allegations that he stole as much as $25,000 of his colleagues’ money while he was union president, the Daily News has learned from officials.

Police Chief Mark Leahy confirmed Thursday that Nathan Fiske resigned last Friday at a disciplinary hearing in front of selectmen.

Fiske, 33, of Holden, is currently under investigation by Massachusetts State Police assigned to Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.’s office, Leahy confirmed, following allegations that funds are missing from the Northborough police union’s bank account.

Fiske was hired full time as an officer in 2007 after serving as a dispatcher for several years. He grew up locally, and in 2010 was given the department’s life-saving award after he restored a 78-year-old woman’s heartbeat with a defribillator.

“Everyone’s shocked,” said Detective Jeff Noel, president of Massachusetts Coalition of Police, or Mass. C.O.P. Local 165, the town patrolmen’s union. “I had all the trust in the world in the kid.”

Noel said Fiske served as president of Local 165 from September 2008 to May 2012, when he was voted out because members felt a change was needed.

Noel said that when he took over as union president, he asked for the union’s checkbook last summer, but never received it. When the new union officials had the bank account switched over from Fiske’s name into theirs this spring, they noticed that money was missing, Noel said.

The bank account accepts union dues from the patrolmen’s union, the sergeants’ union and dispatchers’ union, Noel said. The account is mainly used is to pay union dues to the state as well as to withdraw money to pay for attendance at Mass. C.O.P. annual events, Noel said.

He said it was clear from reviewing the activity on the account that approximately $25,000 was missing. When Noel called the Mass. C.O.P. to check the status of the Northborough union local’s dues, he said he was informed that Local 165 was “significantly behind.”

Noel said he was friends with Fiske before discovering the missing money.

“We were shocked and blindsided,” said Noel, who, along with his fellow officers, pays $12 a week in dues to the bank account.

Noel said it appears the thefts had been occurring for some time. He said Fiske is known for having expensive tastes, but beyond that didn’t know what motive Fiske may have had.

“I don’t think anyone would have expected he would have done this,” Noel said.

Leahy said Fiske, who is divorced with two sons, is not suspected to have stolen anything from the town.

“I can confirm that there are no town funds or town property that’s unaccounted for,” he said. Leahy said the department’s evidence room was checked as well and that no money or other items of evidence were missing.

Fiske did not return a phone message requesting comment Thursday evening. In 2010, he told the online publication The Northborough Daily Voice that he had always wanted to be a police officer in his hometown.

“Some cops may be bad and may not treat you well, but that’s not me,” the Daily Voice quoted Fiske as saying.

Noel said he does not know when charges would be filed, since that would be up to the DA’s office.

Update (9/27/2013): The Telegram & Gazette has found out through a public records request that, in addition to being accused of stealing from the union, Fiske “had a long history of insubordination, falsifying reports and other problems within the Police Department.”

Furthermore, “Timothy Connolly, spokesman for the Worcester district attorney’s office, said this week the investigation into the alleged theft is ongoing. Detective Jeffrey R. Noel, elected to succeed Mr. Fiske as union president, said if the criminal investigation does not result in restitution being paid, a civil case will be filed.”

Update (10/25/2013): Fiske has been indicted on the charge of larceny over $250 by a common scheme.