BOSTON (AP) — The former president of the Massachusetts State Police labor union and the union’s former lobbyist were arrested Wednesday and charged with misusing union funds for their own personal gain.
FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents arrested Dana Pullman, the former head of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, and Anne Lynch, the union’s lobbyist, at their homes.
Authorities say Pullman charged thousands of dollars in personal meals, travel expenses and gifts on the organization’s debit card.
They also say the 57-year-old Worcester resident received bribes and kickbacks from Lynch, a 68-year-old Hull resident for steering lobbying work to her firm, and that the two were involved with others in a scheme to defraud at least two companies seeking to do business with the state.
Pullman and Lynch face wire fraud, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. They’ll appear in Boston federal court later Wednesday.
Pullman’s lawyer, Martin Weinberg, said his client strongly denies the charges and ‘‘never acted in a manner that compromised his loyalty to his union.’’
A message seeking comment was left with Lynch’s lobbying firm.
In announcing the charges, Joseph Bonavolonta, who heads the FBI’s Boston office, said that Pullman ‘‘wielded the union like a criminal enterprise, running it like an old-school mob boss.’’
Kristina O’Connell, who heads the IRS’s Criminal Investigation Division in Boston, added that Pullman treated the union account like his own ‘‘personal piggy bank.’’
State police said in a statement that they’re cooperating with the federal probe. An email seeking comment was sent to the union, which represents more than 1,500 rank-and-file officers.
Pullman served for six years as union president and resigned last September, citing personal reasons. He retired weeks later after working for three decades for the state police.
Wednesday’s arrests are the latest blemish for the troubled state police.
Pullman had been a vocal defender of the dozens of current and former troopers charged in that an overtime scheme that’s shaken the department in recent years.
Troopers assigned largely to patrolling the Massachusetts Turnpike were found to have been falsifying time sheets and writing phony tickets to collect overtime pay.
Some 46 troopers have been implicated, at least eight have pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges and the trooper division has been disbanded.
‘‘I think events like the overtime scandal, events like this, are bad for morale,’’ U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling said Wednesday. ‘‘That organization needs to turn a corner.’’