A state trooper was charged today with accepting a $50 bribe to falsify vehicle inspection records for two men connected to a Revere body shop, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office.
Robert A. Forrest Jr., 61, of Stoneham, was indicted by a Suffolk County grand jury on charges of bribery, making a false statement in an application for a title certificate, conspiracy to commit bribery, and conspiracy to make a false statement in an application for a title certificate.
Bernaldo Hernandez, 47, of Lynn and Kenneth Lafauci, 52, of Topsfield, who allegedly conspired with Forrest, face the same charges.
“From the evidence we’ve seen, Mr. Forrest sold his badge and sold it cheap,” Conley said in a statement. “There’s a reason these cars need to be inspected, and that’s to protect the public at large. Not doing so puts unsuspecting drivers and pedestrians at risk. If this behavior isn’t a violation of the public trust, I don’t know what is.”
Separately, State Police headquarters issued a statement saying Forrest was suspended without pay last summer as a result of the investigation led by members of the department's top command staff.
Colonel Marian J. McGovern, the State Police commander, said the agency "has absolutely no tolerance for alleged lawbreakers within our ranks, and as this case shows, we will investigate allegations of criminal misconduct by our members swiftly and surely…The allegations against Trooper Forrest, if proven to be true, are an affront to the overwhelming majority of state troopers who prize their integrity and honesty above all else.''
According to Conley and State Police, investigators were tipped off to the alleged conspiracy between the three men. At the time, Forrest was assigned to the salvage title section where he was supposed to inspect damaged vehicles and confirm that repairs had been done and that no stolen parts were used.
According to Conley's office, Lafauci owned Brother’s Auto Body – which is not a licensed salvage inspection station -- in Revere, and Hernandez worked in another nearby business.
Lafauci and Hernandez allegedly paid Forrest to skip the inspections and instead sign off on paperwork allowing the damaged vehicles to go back on the road or to be sold.
Forrest, Hernandez, and Lafauci are expected to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court Feb. 25.
State Police have changed the commanders of the salvage title section, but have found no evidence of wrongdoing by any other troopers, said spokesman David Procopio.
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