PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a former member of the Middletown Police Department was sentenced in Kent County Superior Court to serve 18 months at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) for fraudulently altering police records in order to help his significant other obtain public housing in 2016.
Lt. Richard Gamache (age 52), of Middletown, was found guilty on February 26, 2020 by a Newport County Superior Court Jury on 11 counts of intentional access, alteration, damage, or destruction of computer data, and two counts of giving false documents to an agent, employee, or public official.
At today's hearing before Superior Court Justice Brian Van Couyghen, Lt. Gamache was sentenced on the 11 felony counts to a 5-year full sentence, with the first 18 months to be served at the ACI and the balance to be suspended with probation. The Court also imposed a fine in the amount of $2,200.
On the two misdemeanor charges, the Court sentenced the defendant to 18 months to serve at the ACI, concurrent with the sentences on the felony counts.
“Police officers, like all public officials, must be held accountable when they abuse their public authority to serve their private interests,” said Attorney General Neronha. “Those who swear an oath to serve the public have a great responsibility to maintain public trust – a trust the defendant plainly violated here. I want to thank the Office’s Public Integrity Unit and the Middletown Police Department for their strong work throughout the 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 records in the Department’s electronic records system in order to qualify his significant other for a public housing Section 8 voucher. Gamache also deleted arrest records from the Department’s system in furtherance of his attempt to secure the Section 8 voucher for her.
In altering the records, Gamache classified his significant other as a confidential informant of the Department 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 an emergency voucher. Those representations made by Gamache were false, as his significant other had never served as a confidential informant for the Middletown Police Department.
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 the emergency voucher because of her previous arrest records. As a result of Gamache’s efforts his significant other secured the Section 8 voucher.
The Middletown Police Department began their investigation into Gamache’s conduct in 2018, after the Rhode Island State Police arrested Gamache and his significant other following a driving under the influence (DUI) and domestic violence incident. The incident triggered an internal affairs investigation, during which detectives discovered that Gamache had deleted and altered Department records.
Captain Jason Ryan, Detective Adam Tobias, and Detective Scott Naso of 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.