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Sheriff's office employee from Malden allegedly worked second job on paid sick leave

Posted by Jarret Bencks  November 20, 2012 07:57 AM

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A Middlesex County Sheriff's office employee faces charges after allegedly working as a real estate agent while collecting full pay and benefits on medical leave.

When Joyce Drinkwater, 67, of Malden went on extended sick leave in September, she signed paperwork confirming she was unable to perform her job in the payroll office, according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney's office. But an investigation by State Police and Sheriff Peter Koutoujian's office found she was showing houses in Melrose and Wakefield for Century 21 Sexton and Donohue Real Estate, according to the statement from Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.

Drinkwater, who has a 2012 salary of $49,643, remains employed with the Sheriff's office but has been placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the allegations, a spokesman for the Sheriff said Tuesday.

Drinkwater has been charged with knowingly presenting a fraudulent claim to a public employer.

She first took medical leave in June, then applied for extended sick leave in September, the statement said.

Sometime after the request in September, the sheriff's office learned Drinkwater was licensed to practice real estate and began the investigation, the statement said.

In a written statement, Koutoujian said the district attorney was contacted immediately when the possibility of fraud was discovered. He said he planned to pursue internal discipline.

"This employee's alleged actions bring undeserved dishonor to all public sector employees," Koutoujian said. "It is paramount that we maintain the integrity of the Middlesex Sheriff's Office, therefore, if this allegation is proven true, she must be held accountable for her actions."

Drinkwater is expected to be arraigned in Malden District Court Dec. 13.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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