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4 current & former LIRR employees among those charged in OT fraud scheme

Authorities say the men were being paid while at home, on vacations or even bowling, collectively earning more than $1 million in overtime pay.

News 12 Staff

Dec 4, 2020, 1:29 AM

Updated 1,297 days ago

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Five MTA employees have been accused of racking up nearly $1 million in overtime pay when they weren't working.
Federal prosecutors say four of the five workers are either former or current LIRR employees who lied about working hundreds of overtime hours. The other accused is a current NYC Transit employee.
Authorities say the men were being paid while at home, on vacations or even bowling, collectively earning more than $1 million in overtime pay.
All have been charged with fraud for allegedly submitting falsified timecards.
Officials say the OT made the suspects among the highest paid workers in the agency. Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss called the amount of overtime worked "almost physically impossible."
Thomas Caputo, 56 of Holbrook; Joseph Ruzzo, 56, of Levittown; John Nugent, 50, of Rocky Point; Joseph Balestra, 51, of Blue Point; and Michael Gundersen, 42, of New Jersey, each face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
The MTA released a statement, saying in part, "We thank the FBI, Southern District of New York and MTA Inspector General for their diligent work on this matter. The alleged conduct by these MTA employees is an egregious betrayal of public trust. The MTA has implemented a number of aggressive overtime controls that substantially increase oversight and accountability -- already resulting in a reduction of $105 million in overtime in 2019 alone."


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