Tom Braibault was in for quite a surprise Saturday.
"It was news to me, in fact my son picked it up and said, 'Dad, did you get a ticket?'" Braibault said.
The Jericho man and 600 others received a letter from Vermont State Police saying they had been written up for fake traffic tickets by former Vermont State Police Sergeant James Deeghan. "As the result of an investigation we determined that over the course of several years Mr. Deeghan wrote a number of fraudulent uniform traffic tickets, that he did not issue to drivers," said Braibault, reading from the letter.
In many cases they were drivers Deeghan never met, opting instead to scan their plates from a distance."I was not pulled over," Braibault said. "The creation of this ticket may or may not have been the result of an actual encounter with Mr. Deeghan. Well in my case there was no encounter."
The tickets were part of Deeghan's six-year scheme. "Those tickets that Sgt. Deeghan had written were placed in at the Williston Barracks as if they were written to someone on the road, and he destroyed the other ends of the tickets. There are 4 copies and 3 out of 4 were not sent where they should be," said State Police Col. Thomas L'Esperance.
In addition to all of those fake traffic tickets, Deeghan also lied on his time cards, claiming he patrolled Jericho streets when he was nowhere to be seen -- to the tune of roughly $80,000.
"We noticed that our fine revenue was down -- not as many tickets were being written. We were receiving complaints of not seeing the cruisers in town and when the town and the selectboard brought those questions up to Deeghan, we couldn't get a straight answer, and now we know why," said Todd Odit, Jericho's Town Administrator.
While Deeghan will be using his pension for the next six years to pay back the money he stole, some are upset he's getting a pension behind bars at all. "I know the status of my pension and I am going to be working probably until they lay me in the grave, so why should somebody else be getting privileges that they don't perhaps deserve," Tom Braibault said.
The Vermont State Police are working to pay back taxpayers in Jericho what they are owed and expect to cut the town a check in the next two weeks.
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