LIRR workers allegedly lied on time sheets, stole thousands of dollars
Several Long Island Rail Road workers were allegedly caught lying on their time sheets and stealing thousands of dollars.
According to reports from the MTA inspector general, three of the agency's foremen collected thousands of dollars in overtime pay while they were at home or running errands.
One person was allegedly gambling in Atlantic City while taking a sick day.
The employees were identified as Claude Birong, of Carle Place, Mark Speruta, of West Babylon and Dallas Bezemore, of Queens.
They took home over $360,000 in 2018. More than 75% of that was overtime pay.
Gerard Bringmann, president of the LIRR Commuter Council, says the MTA was vulnerable for fraud because the agency relies heavily on the honor system until recently.
The inspector general recommended possible termination for all three workers, but none were fired. Instead, they received 30-day suspensions without pay and were responsible for a few thousand dollars in restitution.
"I thought they really needed to send a message with the penalty," Bringmann says. "Thirty days without pay and restitution - that's getting off pretty light considering what they did."
The agency has rolled out new time clocks that require fingerprinting, and all LIRR track foremen are now using that system.
The MTA also has a five-year plan in place, which is expected will cut overtime costs by nearly $1 billion.