PROVIDENCE, RI – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a former member of the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) pleaded nolo contendere in Kent County Superior Court to misdemeanor charges stemming from conducting private business activities while on official duty.
Lieutenant John (Jay) Gibbs (age 51) pleaded nolo contendere before District Court Judge Anthony Capraro to one count of violating the State’s code of ethics and one count of giving a false document to a public official. Lt. Gibbs received a one-year suspended sentence with probation and was ordered to pay $500 to the Victims of Crimes Indemnity Fund.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that in 2018, Lt. Gibbs owned Ocean State Scale & Balance, LLC, a business specializing in selling and servicing commercial scales. In June 2018, the RISP Commercial Enforcement Unit sought quotes for the purchase of new commercial scales. As part of this effort, Lt. Gibbs solicited a quote from a competing commercial scale vendor, then shared that information with Commercial Scale & Balance, a Massachusetts business that had an existing business relationship with Lt. Gibbs’ company.
Commercial Scale & Balance was initially awarded the RISP contract for commercial scales as the low bidder, using the information gained from Lt. Gibbs. The award was later revoked after it was challenged by a competing vendor.
Lt. Gibbs violated the State’s code of ethics by standing to benefit from a transaction that conflicted with the proper discharge of his duties as a state employee.
During this time, Lt. Gibbs conducted private business activities during the week of July 30, 2018 associated with the sale and purchase of new commercial scales. Lt. Gibbs, however, submitted a weekly timecard that reflected a full week of work, without discharging any personal time, with the intent to mislead the RISP.
The case was investigated by Lieutenant Matthew Salisbury of the Rhode Island State Police and prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General John Moreira and Peter Roklan.