New Jersey police Officer Thomas McWain talked about his commitment to getting people who suffer from drug addiction to rehab, CBS Philadelphia said. But prosecutors say his motivation was financial, according to NJ.com.
McWain, 31, was indicted on charges of tampering with evidence, computer crime and official misconduct after authorities allege he filed false reports and referred drug offenders to a rehab program for monetary gain, NJ.com reported Tuesday.
He made a drug arrest in December 2016 and referred the suspect to a drug rehab center in California, agreeing to drop the charges if he enrolled in the program, according to an indictment, NJ.com reported.
McWain had a financial stake in the facility, authorities allege, according to Patch.
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The West Deptford officer would convince people to bring drugs to hang out with him, and he would then arrest them, police said, CBS Philadelphia reported. He’d allegedly urge the offenders to go to rehab to bring more business to the center, the news station said. NJ.com reports he apparently pulled it off by first posing as a civilian.
Defense attorney Daniel Rybeck said the “so-called victims” were engaging in criminal activity when they were arrested, NJ.com reported. Therefore McWain acted appropriately, Rybeck said.
At some point, McWain caught wind of an investigation into him, Patch reported. So he accessed criminal records without permission and deleted text messages that asked a person to bring drugs to a traffic stop, prosecutors said, the publication reported.
Police Chief Samuel DiSimone told CBS Philadelphia last year that he was made aware of body camera footage that showed McWain’s alleged misconduct, sparking the monthslong probe.
The accusations against McWain have apparently tainted his reputation as an officer who cared deeply about drug addiction. McWain was New Jersey's first police officer to receive a certification as an addiction recovery coach after completing training at the Addictions Academy in Miami, Florida, in 2016, NJ.com reported.
“Here’s a guy making all these drug arrests every month and you are sitting there going, ‘My god this guy is phenomenal … he’s a go-getter,’ and then you find out it is not what it appears to be,” DiSimone said, per CBS Philadelphia.
McWain, who has been with the department since 2013, turned himself in to the prosecutor’s office in November, Patch reported.