Massachusetts State Trooper Socialized with Criminals in Vegas, Did Favors for Bookies, Report Claims

Posted on: October 18, 2020, 11:48h. 

Last updated on: October 19, 2020, 10:59h.

Massachusetts State Trooper Paul Higgins remains on the police force after he allegedly did background checks for known bookies and socialized in Las Vegas with reputed criminals, according to The Boston Globe.

State troopers allegedly performed improper background checks
Massachusetts state police headquarters in Framingham. Several state troopers were reviewed by the department for alleged wrongdoing, including association with illegal gamblers, but rarely fired, a Boston Globe report claims. (Image: Jessica Rinaldi/The Globe)

The police officer went on trips with more than 24 known criminals, the Globe reported this weekend, based on a review of internal affairs documents from the Massachusetts state police.

He was seen in a social media photo at a “penthouse of a high-end casino, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of casino chips,” the Globe reported. He also partied in Las Vegas with individuals who had alleged ties to organized crime, the report adds.

In 2015, the Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office contacted the state police to report that Higgins was being investigated, the report said. He had told Drug Enforcement Administration agents that he ran background checks for bookies who were involved in drug dealing and illegal gambling, the report claims.

Higgins also allegedly revealed to one of the known criminals that police had checked his license plate. Higgins was placed on leave but never was arrested.

In another incident, upon returning from a boxing match in Las Vegas, an unnamed man with alleged ties to organized crime — who was accompanied by Higgins on the trip — was stopped at Boston’s Logan International Airport by security officers. The unnamed man was found carrying $125,000 in cash.

Higgins allegedly interceded when the man was questioned by police. Higgins later was warned by police supervisors in 2013 to curtail associations with known criminals or he could face reprimand or termination, the report said.

In 2017, a state police report further claimed that Higgins had made more than 275 questionable background checks. He allegedly used departmental computers to do the background checks.

Higgins Never Charged

When reached for comment, Attorney Daniel Moynihan, who represents Higgins, told the Globe the state police inquiry was “one-sided,” and the department’s report was “really embellished.

This was not criminal in nature,” Moynihan told the Globe. “Obviously, he was never charged with anything.”

Moynihan said Higgins was put on paid suspension for about a year. He also was placed on unpaid leave for a year, the report adds. Moynihan said that led to Higgins to suffer financially.

“He lost his house. He lost his savings, and lost his reputation,” Moynihan said. “It cost him dearly.”

Trooper Earns Close to 170K in Nine Months

Still a trooper, for the first nine months of 2020 Higgins was paid over $169,000, including $40,600 in overtime, the Globe said.

Another Massachusetts state trooper, Daniel Hartley, allegedly made more than 30 improper background checks and hung out with a known criminal, the Globe reported.

Hartley initially claimed he was working and got paid for duty when he actually was at a Las Vegas boxing match, the report claims.

Hartley was identified in the report as a friend of Higgins’. Higgins did not respond when the Globe tried to get him to comment.

Higgins and Hartley were just some of the troopers highlighted by the Globe. The newspaper reviewed multiple documents found in Massachusetts state police internal affairs’ files. They show the department rarely fired troopers under scrutiny, the report said.

In unrelated incidents, other Massachusetts state troopers suffered injuries earlier this year in fights with unruly patrons at the Encore Boston Harbor. During the struggle, one of the troopers suffered a concussion, WCVB, a local TV station, reported.

A second trooper got back injuries during the arrest. He did not require hospital treatment.