He's a 22-year veteran of the Vermont State Police. Now Jim Deeghan, 49, a former sergeant out of the Williston barracks, finds himself on the wrong side of the law.
"I'm sorry to report to Vermonters today that we have a situation unfolding with a former sergeant of the State police where we fear that there may have been fraudulent activity that stole taxpayers' money," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
Authorities say another trooper discovered that Deeghan was doctoring his timecard when he was trying to get authorization for his own overtime. That officer immediately reported the suspected abuse to his superiors. Monday evening Deeghan was suspended without pay and he resigned early Tuesday morning. Deeghan will not be represented by the union.
"This administration will not tolerate taxpayers being robbed from in any way, shape or form. We've promised you transparency. We will give you transparency throughout this investigation," Shumlin said.
The governor has ordered a forensic audit of Deeghan's pay. Last year, Deeghan collected $136,000. With a base salary of $80,000, that puts his earned overtime at nearly double what's expected. No one's sure exactly how long it has been going on or how many hours he may have been paid for without actually working. Deeghan could face criminal charges.
"We're going to be the fact finders. We're going to report the facts as we find them to be. We're going to discover those facts and give them to the state's attorney. His office could then make the charging decision," Vt. Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn said.
Until then, the alleged fraud of one casts a negative shadow on the entire force.
"Betrayal and trust. This is a case of a public servant that was entrusted with a job to do and he betrayed his badge, his core values and across the state this will have a shockwave among State Police members who will have a long-lasting effect," Vt. State Police Col. Tom L'Esperance said.
The pay of nearly 400 members of the Vermont State Police will now be closely scrutinized. An audit will determine if further reforms need to be made to the current time card system. At this point, authorities are not sure if this abuse is isolated to one sergeant or it's a sign of a more widespread pattern.
As the system is now, there are checks and balances in place. A second set of eyes does have to sign off on all overtime. So obviously authorities are now using this investigation to check out who approved Deeghan's hours.
They hope that this audit will reveal if even more oversight is needed. State police are also investing a new IT system that would make this type of fraud harder to get away with.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:55 PM EDT2013-06-19 03:55:09 GMT
An award winning journalist from Vermont has died.Michael Hastings was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident in Los Angeles.Hastings was best known for his Rolling Stones article on General StanleyMore >>
Michael Hastings was killed early Tuesday morning in a car accident in Los Angeles.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:54 PM EDT2013-06-19 03:54:26 GMT
Bennington Rural Fire Station was packed with people and support for the 15 members recently suspended over their part in an annual stunt. "Do you realize these are the real heroes of America?" askedMore >>
Bennington Rural Fire Station was packed with people and support for the 15 members recently suspended over their part in an annual stunt.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 11:53 PM EDT2013-06-19 03:53:55 GMT
Glen Goodall served in the South Pacific during World War II, now the Williamstown vet is in Washington D.C. for two very special honors.Tuesday marked the 94-year-old's first trip to the nation's capitalMore >>
Glen Goodall served in the South Pacific during World War II, now the Williamstown vet is in Washington DC for two very special honors.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:41 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:41:56 GMT
Former Bennington Rural Fire Department chief Joseph Hayes pleaded not guilty Monday to embezzlement charges stemming from a department-sponsored raffle when he was chief. Participants told police theyMore >>
A former chief at the Bennington Rural Fire Department faces embezzlement charges and 16 volunteers are in hot water over another incident. As allegations of misconduct stack up, some residents are worried about their safety.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:54:27 GMT
Court documents indicate New York's Chinese mafia may be involved in prostitution at a Chittenden County spa. Tuesday morning, landlord Thomas Booska pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge. A tenantMore >>
A landlord has denied charges related to prostitution at an alleged sex spa in Williston. And court documents indicate New York's Chinese Mafia may be involved in prostitution in Vermont.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 12:13 PM EDT2013-06-18 16:13:18 GMT
A Hopkinton, New York man is behind bars, accused of promoting prostitution. Police say Monday, they searched 60-year-old Dean Lamphere's house and business -- Lamphere's General Trucking and Repair.More >>
A Hopkinton, N.Y., man is behind bars, accused of promoting prostitution.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:00 AM EDT2013-06-18 14:00:51 GMT
A New Haven man says he was trying to stop another man from cutting down his neighbor's trees, but police say firing shots wasn't the way to do it. Police say on Sunday, 72-year-old David Milson firedMore >>
A New Haven man says he was trying to stop another man from cutting down his neighbor's trees, but police say firing shots wasn't the way to do it.More >>