Former Boston area police officer sentenced after defrauding landlords

Robert Kennedy failed to pay rent despite earning six figures as a detective

Former Boston Area Police Officer Sentenced in Fraud Case
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

A former Stoneham police department detective sergeant avoided jail time after pleading guilty to concealing his eviction history, stiffing landlords and committing a series of fraudulent activities related to obtaining and maintaining leased apartments.

Robert Kennedy, 54, of Stoneham, was given two years probation, including 90 days of home confinement by U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper, according to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Additionally, Kennedy was ordered to pay restitution of $14,275 after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud in September.

Kennedy’s misconduct spanned from February 2020 to June 2023, during which he stiffed three landlords — including an elderly couple — out of at least $50,000, even though he’d earned over half a million dollars (between $141,000 and $187,000 annually with the Stoneham Police Department) over that three-year period.  

The former detective’s most recent fraudulent act involved submitting false information during the rental application process to his last landlord. 

Instead of providing his own personal details for the required tenant screening, which includes credit and eviction history checks, Kennedy used a family member’s information with the same name. This deceptive move aimed to conceal his problematic financial history, including collections, delinquencies, defaults, and evictions.

Kennedy’s landlord, unaware of the fraudulent information, relied on the screening report to approve his application and grant him a lease. 

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However, Kennedy immediately breached the lease terms by issuing bad checks for rent and security deposit and subsequently failing to make additional rent payments. As a result, he lived in the apartment for about four months, accumulating around $14,000 in overdue rent.

While Kennedy is no longer on a police force, he was allowed to retire in June and begin collecting an annual $60,800 pension.

It’s unclear whether a legal challenge to the pension collecting would be successful. 

Massachusetts law only permits a public employee’s pension to be taken away if a conviction is related to the employee’s job.

Kennedy’s attorney, Brad Bailey, was already arguing that his client’s illegal conduct had nothing to do with his work as a police officer.

“It’s very important to point out that nothing to which he admitted today and accepted responsibility for is related to, pertained to, or is alleged to be in connection with the official performance of his duties and discharge of his duties as a public safety official,” Bailey told NBC10 in September.

The guilty plea should bring Kennedy’s police career in the state to an end, according to MassLive. The former officer’s police certification is required to be revoked by law upon a guilty plea or conviction of a felon, according to the outlet.