A former member of the Middletown Police Department was found guilty on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by a Newport County Superior Court jury on charges stemming from his actions in 2016, where he altered police records in order to assist his girlfriend secure a public housing Section 8 voucher.
Richard Gamache (age 52), of Middletown, and formerly a Detective Commander in the Middletown Police Department, was found guilty on 12 counts of intentional access, alteration, damage, or destruction of a computer; one count of giving false documents to an agent, employee, or public official; and two misdemeanor counts of filing a false document. The jury returned the verdict after one day of deliberations following a six-day trial presided over by Superior Court Justice Brian Van Couyghen.
“Police officers, like all public officials, swear an oath to serve the public’s interest, not their own,” said Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. “The defendant here violated that oath when he used his official capacity – his public power – to serve his private interests, more specifically, to obtain a public benefit for his girlfriend. He has now been held accountable for the crimes he committed in abusing that power, and deservedly so. I want to thank the Office’s Public Integrity Unit and the Middletown Police Department for their strong work on this investigation and trial.”
During trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that in 2016, Gamache, as a member of the Middletown Police Department, altered a record in the Department’s records system in order to qualify his girlfriend for a public housing Section 8 voucher. Gamache also deleted arrest records from the Department’s system in furtherance of his attempt to secure her the Section 8 voucher.
The effect of altering the record classified his girlfriend as a confidential informant of the Department who was involved in an ongoing case. Gamache then submitted unauthorized letters using Department letterhead to the Newport Housing Authority, in which he claimed that she faced grave danger if she was not given a voucher.
Additionally, by deleting her arrest records, he attempted to ensure that she would be able to pass any future background checks that would otherwise disqualify her from receiving a voucher because of her previous arrest records. As a result of Gamache’s efforts, his girlfriend secured the Section 8 voucher.
The Middletown Police Department began its investigation into Gamache’s conduct in 2018, after the Rhode Island State Police arrested Gamache and his girlfriend following a domestic violence incident. The incident triggered an internal affairs investigation, during which detectives discovered that Gamache had deleted and altered Department records.
Gamache is scheduled to be sentenced on April 16, 2020 in Newport County Superior Court. He faces a possible sentence that would include time to serve at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI).
The Middletown Police Department led the investigation into the case. Assistant Attorney General John Moreira and Special Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Morin prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.