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State Trooper collects 'stay-away pay' for a year as federal investigation lingers
BATON ROUGE - The WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered a Louisiana State Police trooper collecting "stay-away pay" for the past year. He's drawing a paycheck without performing any work for the agency.
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State Police said 15-year veteran trooper Nicholas Gee is on forced leave. He is under a federal investigation pertaining to allegations of benefits fraud and sources said he's a cooperating witness in the probe.
Despite Gee being on leave for the past year, the Louisiana State Police Commission, which oversees the discipline of troopers, said its records show that Gee is on active duty.
State records indicate Gee earns about $77,000 per year.
Gee works out of the beleaguered Troop F in north Louisiana. That troop faced intense scrutiny after the death of Ronald Greene, who led troopers on a high-speed chase in May 2019. When he was pulled out of his vehicle, he was alive and apologizing. Body camera footage showed he was brutally beaten.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit exposed a coverup at the highest levels of State Police. It led to a complete overhaul in leadership and federal officials launched a pattern-and-practice investigation into whether State Police routinely engage in unfair practices targeting minorities.
Weeks before Gee's issue came to light, another trooper from Troop F, Michael Reichardt, cut a deal with State Police and had a suspension cut in half. Reichardt was part of a federal investigation that implicated a doctor accused of writing prescriptions for powerful pain killers.
This year, lawyers for State Police said Reichardt filled prescriptions for 270 Percocet pills in 73 days. Percocet is a controlled substance that is highly addictive and used to treat pain.
"On June 1, 2020, he advised CID that over six months, he received prescriptions for 470 Percocet and 44 tramadol per month from two different doctors," a lawyer representing State Police told the commission.
Calls to the Department of Justice pertaining to Gee's investigation were not returned.
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