LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two former Louisville Metro Police officers convicted of faking overtime to boost pay and retirement benefits say their actions were part of the "culture" of the department.
Both Todd Roadhouse and Mark Final have acknowledged guilt but, in arguing for probation instead of prison, pointed out that what they did was not unusual, according to documents filed this week in U.S. District Court.
Roadhouse was one of the department's best officers who "succumbed to a long standing culture whereby overtime hours were often padded," his attorney said in court records.
In a statement to the judge, Final said his commanding officer would often send him home early and allow him to claim overtime he didn't work.
"This was not something that was hidden, this was done routinely, and everyone is aware of it," he wrote in his statement. "I have always been a 'rules guy,' I guess that I just began to go along with the cultural norms instead of following my own path of what I knew to be right."
Final told U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings he believed that "commanding officers make these decisions because it is something that they have seen done for many years. Second, it is a way for them to take care of their workers."
The former officer concluded he "should have led from the front and started a new trend" for fellow officers.
Attorney Brian Butler, who represents Roadhouse, cited the "general deterrence value this prosecution may have on other police officers" as a factor to consider in sparing his client from prison.
"Any police officer learning that Todd was federally prosecuted and convicted of a felony offense all the while being humiliated in front of his friends and family would surely think twice about engaging in similar conduct," he wrote.
An LMPD spokesperson declined to comment on the former officers' accusations, saying the department does not talk about pending cases.
Prosecutors are recommending probation instead of prison for Roadhouse, Final and another officer who all pleaded guilty in October to wire fraud charges that included falsifying arrest citations to justify overtime hours.
While saying the officers placed "their own greed ahead of the public trust," federal prosecutors noted they were paying restitution, had accepted responsibility for their actions and had no other criminal history, according to documents filed Wednesday.
The former officers, Roadhouse, Final and Brian Stanfield, would serve some time on home incarceration if Judge Jennings agrees to the recommendations at the Feb. 6 sentencing.
Roadhouse, who faces up to 18 months in prison, has paid back more than $40,000 in restitution, according to court records.
Stanfield, who could be sentenced to up to 21 months in prison under sentencing guidelines, has paid $101,000 in restitution.
And Final is expected to pay back $27,500 by his sentencing date, according to prosecutors. Sentencing guidelines put his maximum prison stay at 14 months. Under the plea agreement, he would instead serve eight months on home incarceration, his attorney, Scott C. Cox, wrote in court records.
The men also face fines of an unspecified amount.
The judge will determine the final sentence.
In their documents requesting probation, all three accepted responsibility for their actions, provided letters of support from community members and noted they would have to live the rest of their lives as convicted felons.
Several current police officers wrote letters of support for the men. Final was the only former officer to write his own statement to the judge.
"I have lost my good reputation amongst acquaintances from my kid's friends' family's and others that knew me from a distance," Final wrote in a statement to the judge. "At the end of all of this I will be a convicted felon, and this is something that will live with me forever. Doing what I did for seventeen years, I know exactly what this means, and it was something that I never took lightly when I was helping to determine [the] fate [of suspects] that I crossed paths with."
Final is now selling home security systems door-to-door and loading package cars for UPS.
"Talk about a humbling experience," he wrote. "I had many doors slammed in my face and had a gun pointed at me."
The plea deal came nearly two years after a WDRB News investigation exposed overtime abuse by several officers, including the three who have now admitted to the scheme.
According to the U.S. Attorney, Stanfield, Roadhouse and Final schemed together from 2014 to 2017 to submit hours to LMPD when they actually didn't work the hours. They also failed to work during their assigned shifts, according to court documents.
To justify the excessive hours, all three prepared "false and fraudulent uniform citation arrest reports in which they altered the time of the arrest and added each other's names on the signature line," according to the documents in the case.
For example, according to prosecutors, if an arrest occurred at 6 p.m., the officers would write that it happened later, maybe 9 p.m., to make it justify the overtime hours. They would then add each other's names to the report to allow all to collect overtime pay.
The officers also coordinated with each other to ensure the overtime hours submitted did not "conflict with specific times that one or more of them was also purporting to work secondary employment," Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Zimdahl wrote in the new documents.
"The scope and magnitude of this crime are a betrayal of that public trust and the power granted to those who serve in law enforcement," Zimdahl wrote.
In addition, the U.S. Attorney alleges that the men claimed to have worked hours for the ATF as part of a special task force when they in fact did not work the hours. LMPD paid the three for those hours and was then reimbursed by the federal government.
Stanfield retired in February 2018 while under internal investigation for violating department policy by getting paid as a police officer while also working off-duty at UPS.
But the case was closed "by exception" because of his retirement, according to a letter from Police Chief Steve Conrad. Roadhouse retired shortly after the WDRB News investigation was published. Final resigned from the department when the trio was charged.
In September 2018, Louisville Metro Council passed a resolution requesting an internal audit of LMPD overtime spending from December 2016 to August 2018.
The WDRB News investigation found officers worked weeks or months without taking a day off -- including weekends -- logging what experts say would be either suspicious or dangerously long hours. Yet the department has no internal policies meant to force officers to rest or avoid marathon shifts.
Roadhouse, for example, worked more than 200 hours during the first two weeks of January 2017, including back-to-back 17-hour days. He followed that with a 21-hour day, according to his time slips. In all, his workload during that time yielded about 120 hours of overtime.
Roadhouse's time slips, obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act, show he worked 84 consecutive days from January 1 to March 25, logging, on average, about 12 hours a day.
Final worked every day in February 2017, including weekends, averaging about 12 hours a day, for the police department while also working a secondary job providing security at Male High School, according to records.
Stanfield jumped from $20,000 in overtime in 2014 to more than $48,000 in 2017.
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