5 current and former MTA workers charged with overtime fraud

New York State

An MTA worker wears personal protective equipment at the Grand Army Plaza station in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — Five former and current employees of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fraudulently put in for “almost physically impossible” overtime hours that netted them hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra income, authorities said Thursday in announcing charges.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss and other authorities said the men, four of whom were with the Long Island Rail Road and one with New York City Transit, put in for overtime in 2018 for hours when they were at their homes or other locations, and even on vacation.

The men claimed “extraordinary, almost physically impossible, amounts of overtime,” Strauss said in a statement. “Those almost impossible claims were fueled by brazen, repeated fraud, including falsely claiming to be working overtime hours while the defendants were at their homes or, in some instances, bowling.”

The men’s jobs ranged from surfacing and track foremen to a chief measurement officer responsible for overseeing a track inspection vehicle.

Authorities said their overtime claims would have required them to be working eight to 10 hours of overtime every day in addition to their regular work weeks in order to be true.

The officials said the men were among the highest paid MTA employees in 2018 with one of them, Thomas Caputo, as the highest paid, taking home $461,000 of which $344,000 was overtime.

He retired in 2019. A telephone number for him could not be found, and there was no information available on an attorney. Messages were left with the other men’s attorneys seeking comment.

Another of the defendants also retired from the LIRR last year, while two others are still working there, as is the NYC Transit employee.

The men are each charged with federal program fraud, and face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

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