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Police Officers Accused of Overtime Fraud

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most employees are required to be paid at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay when working overtime (usually working more than 40 hours per week). So a person who is strapped for cash may want to be working overtime whenever possible; because of the large pay increase. However, an employee can get in serious trouble if he or she commits overtime fraud. This type of crime occurs when a person is wrongfully paid overtime wages for hours that have not been worked.

According to WFAA, four to six Fort Worth police officers have been accused of altering traffic tickets to receive overtime pay. Department spokesman Lt. Paul Henderson explained that the officers were writing an abundance of tickets during their normal duty hours, then turning those tickets in at a later time.

One of the suspected officers resigned after finding out about the investigation, but the other suspected officers are still active in the Fort Worth Police Department. The officers being investigated could face face internal discipline; as well as federal or state charges for fraud and altering government documents. In response to the possibility of overtime fraud in the police department, Chief Jeffrey Halstead declared last month that no officer will get overtime pay for special programs that crack down on traffic laws, seat belt laws, or DWI enforcement.

Some community members are concerned by this motion because it means that certain traffic safety programs are being put on hold and that there won't be as much law enforcement in the area due to the limited hours that each officer can work.

Lt. Paul Henderson told WFAA, "That hurts the citizens, because we don't have that extra layer of coverage."

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