A former Dallas police officer pleaded guilty on October 16 to falsifying traffic tickets in order to collect overtime pay through a program funded by a federal grant aimed at curbing fatal and serious injury crashes on Dallas roadways.
Matthew Alan Rushing, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in U.S. District Court in Dallas. He worked as a Dallas police officer for more than 11 years before his arrest in late June 2019.
According to his plea agreement, Rushing admitted to submitting at least 38 fraudulent “Officer’s Daily Grant Activity Reports, which included citations for fictitious persons and events,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas said in its release.
“After Mr. Rushing concluded a traffic stop, he admitted, he sometimes altered the violator’s true identity by changing their name or date of birth, causing arrest warrants to be issued for drivers who didn’t exist,” the release stated. Other times, Rushing “cited drivers for nonexistent violations after they departed the scene of the incident.”
Court documents alleged Rushing unlawfully accessed law enforcement databases to obtain the information needed and forged a violator’s signature to write fake citations.
Rushing was paid for 41 four-hour shifts and logged approximately 160 overtime hours through the Comprehensive Selective Training Enforcement Program, or STEP, through a federal grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA allocated federal money to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) to fund state highway safety programs. In turn, TXDOT awarded a grant of more than $890,000 to the City of Dallas for the STEP program to “fund overtime pay to officers of the Dallas Police Department to ensure better enforcement of traffic laws,” according to court filings.
Rushing faces up to five years in federal prison. His sentencing is set for March 2020.
The investigation was conducted by the Dallas Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.