State troopers indicted in CDL test bribery scheme

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If you've ever encountered a driver you thought was "an idiot" who "should have failed" the CDL test 10 times, you may have been talking to drivers granted Commercial Driver's Licenses by the Massachusetts State Police in an alleged cash-for-CDLs scheme.

"Horrible" or even "brain dead" is exactly how the DOJ is saying two current and former troopers, among others, described the drivers they passed. 

According to a new indictment from United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy of the District of Massachusetts, the troopers accepted bribes to let CDL applicants pass their exams using a codeword, and even joked about it via text message. That's in addition to giving other state troopers a pass on the CDL test, despite no such tests taking place, and essentially printing CDLs for a local water company, the office alleged. 

The two current and two former troopers were among six charged in a 74-count indictment over "an alleged conspiracy to falsify records and give passing scores" to certain CDL applicants, "including individuals who had failed or did not take the CDL skills test, in exchange for bribes," a press release read.

Gary Cederquist, 58, of Stoughton; Calvin Butner, 63, of Halifax; Perry Mendes, 63, of Wareham; Joel Rogers, 54, of Bridgewater; Scott Camara, 42, of Rehoboth; and Eric Mathison, 47, of Boston, all in Massachusetts, were indicted on three counts of conspiracy to falsify records, three counts of conspiracy to commit extortion, three counts of extortion, six counts of honest services mail fraud, 31 counts of falsification of records, 27 counts of false statements, and one count of perjury.

Butner and Mendes were arrested Monday in Florida and "will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date," according to the release.

The other defendants were arrested the next morning, with a court date at 2 p.m. the same day. 

The U.S. Attorney alleged that MSP Sergeant Cederquist was in charge of MSP’s CDL Unit, and that Trooper Rogers and retired Troopers Butner and Mendes were members of the unit and were responsible for administering CDL skills tests.

"The CDL skills test is a demanding, in-person test," the U.S. Attorney wrote. But, rather than ensuring applicants meet the high standards of professional drivers, these troopers allegedly took bribes and laughed off any negative safety impacts. 

"According to the charging document, between in on or about May 2019 and January 2023, Cederquist, Butner, Mendes, Rogers and others conspired to give preferential treatment to at least 17 CDL applicants by agreeing to give passing scores on their skills tests whether or not they actually passed, using the code word 'golden' to identify these applicants who received special treatment."

The indictment includes the following text exchange, allegedly between Cederquist and Butner, discussing the code word and joking about the applicant's failures in the skills test. 

“Your buddy passed yesterday he owes you that’s an automatic Fail leaving the door open!!!";


“This guys a mess. Lol. He owes u a prime rib 6inch. 4 compounds and no watch";


“Your buddy is a mess. He owes you big time. He will be fine though. Anything for you”;


“Golden mess. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣”;


“He’s a mess Class A truck 2psi loss with truck running truck cut our again while timing 🤣🤣🤣🤣”; and


“Total mess this guy I think some time we should just do what we can but not golden.”

The applicant discussed in the tests above passed, as did any others who offered bribes, the indictment alleges. 

Further, the U.S. Attorney said "that Cederquist gave preferential treatment to four Class A CDL applicants who were MSP Troopers by falsely reporting that each trooper took and passed a Class A skills test."

The reality, according to the indictment, was that the "Troopers did not pass the skills test and that they drove a vehicle which did not qualify as a Class A vehicle.

"It is alleged that Cederquist conspired with his friend Camara, who worked for a truck-driving school in Brockton, to accomplish this offense." 

According to the indictment, Cederquist at one point was trading CDLs for bottled water and Arizona Iced Tea. From the release: 

It is further alleged that Cederquist conspired with his friend Mathison, who worked for a spring water company that employed drivers who needed CDLs, to give passing scores to certain applicants affiliated with the water company. The indictment alleges that Cederquist gave passing scores to three such applicants who actually failed, in exchange for bribes of free inventory from the water company, such as cases of bottled Fiji, VOSS and Essentia water, cases of bottled Arizona Iced Tea, and coffee and tea products, all of which Mathison delivered to an office trailer at the CDL test site in Stoughton. The indictment alleges that Cederquist sent Mathison a text describing one of these applicants as “an idiot,” who had “no idea what he’s doing,” and “should have failed about 10 times already.” It is alleged that Cederquist then texted Mathison that Mathison’s boss “owes big time.”

Mathison may have even been given a key to the Stoughton yard "so that Mathison could drop off water company inventory even when the test site was closed."

The indictment alleges that Mendes also took part in the conspiracy, and that the scheme became routine, almost like a shopping trip.

“Was heading to Bridgewater seeing if you all need anything on return trip. Did you get a new key for the midnight express”? Mendes allegedly texted Cederquist.

“Not yet, but I need Voss and Italian toast espresso and some decaf for an old timer at the office," Cederquist replied. 

Cederquist's racket allegedly extended to "additional bribes in exchange for using his official position as the sergeant in charge of MSP’s CDL Unit," such as a "$750 granite post and mailbox; a new driveway valued at over $10,000; and a snow blower valued at nearly $2,000."

All this while Cederquist was texting people about the "horrible" and "brain dead" people to whom he was granting CDLs, according to the indictment.  

As for the well-connected under-achievers who got their CDL, expect some legal action there, too. 

"All CDL recipients identified as not qualified in the course of this investigation have been reported to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles," the U.S. Attorney wrote. "The investigation remains ongoing."

The conspirators face penalties for the alleged wrongdoing. From the release:

The charges of conspiracy to falsify records each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of conspiracy to commit extortion each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of extortion each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of honest services mail fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of falsification of records each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of false statements each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of perjury provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

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