Former Massachusetts officer charged with cheating landlords

BOSTON — A former Massachusetts police officer, who earned as much as $187,000 per year, lied on rental applications to obtain leases on three apartments and then intentionally withheld rent payments, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Robert Kennedy, 53, a former detective sergeant for the Stoneham Police Department, faces a charge of wire fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

Kennedy resigned from the department on Feb. 23 following notice of an internal investigation into a history of civil claims against him, Town Administrator Dennis Sheehan and police Chief James McIntyre said in a joint statement. He had worked for the department since 2001.

An email message seeking comment was left with Kennedy’s attorney.

Kennedy “is a serial debt fraudster who has a trail of bad debts, collections, and unpaid judgments,” according to an FBI affidavit in the case.

He has been the subject of at least six small claims actions, the FBI said.

Kennedy defrauded his last three landlords by providing “false and misleading information” on his rental applications and did not pay rent to take advantage of the slow eviction process, according to court documents.

To get his most recent apartment and skirt a credit check and eviction history check, Kennedy allegedly provided the date of birth and Social Security number of a relative who shared his first and last name, prosecutors said.

The lease was approved, but he gave the landlord bad checks for his rent and security deposit and failed to make subsequent rent payments, allowing him to live in the apartment rent-free for approximately four months, prosecutors said. He owes that landlord about $14,000, authorities said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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