Mass. State Police sergeant dishonorably discharged amid CDL bribery scandal

Authorities issued a dishonorable discharge to a Massachusetts State Police sergeant charged in connection to a commercial driver’s license bribery scandal.

26 drivers stripped of CDLs amid investigation into state police bribery scandal, RMV says

Sergeant Gary Cederquist, 58, of Stoughton, retired from the department effective Thursday after being suspended without pay on Wednesday, according to a state police spokesperson.

Massachusetts State Police Sgt. Gary Cederquist, center, leaves federal court. Tuesday, Jan 30, 2024, in Boston. Cederquist, 58, of Stoughton, and five others have been charged Tuesday in a scheme to allegedly take bribes including a new snowblower and driveway in exchange for giving passing scores on commercial driving tests, the U.S. attorney’s office said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Michael Casey)

Cederquist and five others were charged in a federal indictment for allegedly giving commercial driver’s licenses to unqualified applicants in exchange for personal kickbacks, including a $10,000 driveway makeover, free snowblowers, high-end bottled water, and cases of coffee and tea.

‘Golden handshakes’: MSP troopers passed failed CDL applicants in exchange for kickbacks, feds say

Trooper Joel Rogers, 54, of Bridgewater, retired MSP members Calvin Butner and Perry Mendes, as well as two civilians, Scott Camara, 42, of Rehoboth, and Eric Mathison, 47, of Boston, were also charged in connection with the bribery scheme.

A determination for the troopers’ pensions will be made by the state retirement board and not the state police, according to the department spokesperson.

In response to the investigation, state police said they’ve taken steps to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability on a department-wide scale. These include:

  • Required use of body-worn cameras for all CDL exams.

  • Increased frequency of unannounced visits by unit supervisors to examiners at training sites.

  • Modernized unit record-keeping with required electronic documentation and the use of the Department’s online case management system, allowing for enhanced accountability, accuracy, and supervision.

The indictment showed that the troopers jokingly talked about “golden handshakes” and “golden treatments” in text messages, referring to giving guaranteed passes to CDL applicants, regardless of how they scored on the test.

The troopers conspired to give preferential treatment to at least 17 CDL applicants by agreeing to give passing scores on their skills tests whether or not they passed, using the code word “golden” to identify these applicants who received special treatment, the indictment alleged.

Additionally, it is alleged that Cederquist gave preferential treatment to four Class A CDL applicants who were MSP Troopers by falsely reporting that each trooper took and passed a Class A skills test.

CDL tests are administered at the state level and the Massachusetts State Police Commercial Driver’s License Unit, which Cederquist was in charge of, is tasked with overseeing the examinations.

The four troopers facing charges made the following salaries in recent years, state records showed:

  • Cederquist: $194,191 in 2023, $331,619 in 2022, and $244,888 in 2021

  • Rogers: $175,804 in 2023, $184,881 in 2022, $161,327 in 2021

  • Butner: $81,378 in 2023, $159,893 in 2022, $157,166 in 2021

  • Mendes: $2,000 in 2023, $94,721 in 2022, $178,632 in 2021

In a statement on Wednesday, Colonel John E. Mawn Jr. condemned the actions of the four current and former CDL Unit members.

An investigation remains ongoing.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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