In a sign that the investigation into the Middlesex County sheriff’s department appears to be heating up, the acting sheriff has issued an order barring the destruction of any documents.
Acting Sheriff John Granara sent the order via e-mail on Dec. 3. A copy was obtained by FOX Undercover.
The email, the subject of which was “Destruction of Documents,” says, “Please be advised that no documents or paperwork of any kind shall be shredded until further notice.”
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office declined to comment on the order, but the office has confirmed their investigation is continuing even though Sheriff James V. DiPaola took his own life last month.
The AG’s investigation began after a FOX Undercover report revealed evidence that the late sheriff pocketed cash donations from employees.
In an interview with FOX Undercover the week before his death, DiPaola defended himself and denied any wrongdoing.
Pam Wilmot of Common Cause Massachusetts said the investigation should continue despite the death of the sheriff.
“We need to know the extent of what happened. Were there other people involved? Were there other people taking money. Was it only – again, this is just an allegation -- was it only the sheriff?” she said. “Are there people that were promoted because of that that maybe shouldn't have their promotions or not given a promotion that should have had it?”
A spokesman for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Department didn’t respond to a request for a comment. However, orders to preserve documents that may be part of an investigation are common issued. A similar order was issued by the Massachusetts Probation Department, which is under investigation by the US Attorney’s office and other agencies over hiring practices.