Saturday, 2:15 PM
Department of Correction worker charged in $100K theft
By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff
A state Department of Correction worker has been charged with stealing more than $100,000 from the agency, the state attorney general's office said.
Lieutenant Gary Mendes
Lieutenant Gary Mendes, 48, of Berkley, pleaded not guilty this afternoon to charges of larceny over $250 and procurement fraud at his arraignment before Greenfield District Court Judge David Ross. He was released on personal recognizance. A pretrial hearing was slated for Jan. 15.
Mendes, who was in charge of procurement for the special operations division, was arrested this morning at his home.
“We allege that Lieutenant Mendes took advantage of his opportunity as head of procurement ... in essentially stealing over $100,000 of equipment for personal use,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said at a news conference today.
Coakley said the investigation covered the time frame between 2004 and 2008. Mendes allegedly overordered equipment, including guns and ammunition. He used the credit or the cash refund for his own purposes, she said.
In some cases, he bought guns and then sold them to other, unwitting DOC employees. In other cases, he simply bought items for himself, including hunting equipment, a baseball pitching machine, and a television, said attorney general's spokesman Harry Pierre.
Asked about the recent string of cases against public employees, Coakley said, “When the economy takes a rough turn as it has, in the private sector and public sector, you are going to have more individuals who are in trouble.”
“We hope that we can send a message that we will be active in these investigations,” she said. She said the investigation was continuing, but investigators believed that Mendes was the major player involved in the DOC. She declined to name the equipment supplier where Mendes made his purchases.
Mendes is currently suspended with pay. His attorney, Timoth Flynn, didn't immediately return a message seeking comment.