MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny today released 2 investigative reports exposing 3 Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) supervisors, who committed time abuse and filed false time records, resulting in their discipline.
Office of the MTA Inspector General (OIG) investigators found that an LIRR Surfacing Foreman, Track Foreman, and Track Surfacing Foreman, submitted time records falsely indicating they were at work. The employees in these reports are supervisors who in addition to time abuse and submitting false filings, failed in their supervisory responsibility. By being absent during their work hours, the foremen left their crew unsupervised and disregarded their duty to oversee the employees’ safety and work performance, including ensuring proper time and attendance.
The investigations are part of the OIG’s continuing, proactive efforts to detect overtime fraud and abuse.
In December 2020, and February 2021, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York charged 5 current and former LIRR employees on allegations of overtime fraud as a result of OIG’s ongoing investigations into high overtime earners. The criminal matters remain pending. The OIG is continuing its proactive efforts to detect overtime fraud and abuse, including issuing quarterly updates on the MTA’s overtime reform. The quarterly update for the 3rd Quarter of 2021 is expected to be released in the upcoming weeks.
“These managers found a way to double their salaries through overtime, and yet we caught them doing everything from shopping and gambling, to carpooling their kids and doing work around the house – all on the taxpayer’s dime,” said MTA Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny. “These MTA managers are exhibit A for why the agency needs strong internal controls when it comes to time and attendance – without them, the agency is at risk of fraud—even from its own supervisors. My Office will continue to hold management accountable for the overtime reforms that they have pledged to implement.”
Over a 6-month period, OIG surveillance showed the LIRR Surfacing Foreman often arrived late to work and was observed at his residence or other non-work locations when he was supposed to be working, including at a Casino in Atlantic City. Usually, the Surfacing Foreman then signed and submitted his own time records falsely indicating that he was at work. From 2018 through 2020, the Surfacing Foreman earned more than double his regular pay in overtime pay.
LIRR brought disciplinary charges against the Surfacing Foreman, who received a 30 calendar days suspension without pay, worth approximately $8,100, to be served starting in December 2021. He also signed a last chance agreement noting that future violations of theft, theft of wages, or attempted theft of wages will subject him to dismissal and agreed to make restitution in the amount of $1,131.
OIG investigators also uncovered that an LIRR Track Foreman and Track Surfacing Foreman, committed time abuse and filed false time records. Both were high overtime earners who from 2018—2020 earned double their regular pay in overtime, netting well over $200,000 annually. Over a 5-month period, OIG surveillances of the Track Foreman showed that on 8 dates, he arrived late to work and was observed at his residence or other non-work locations when he was supposed to be working. The Track Foreman also signed and submitted his own time records falsely indicating that he was at work. Likewise, OIG’s surveillances of the Surfacing Foreman showed that on 4 dates, he was observed at his residence when he was supposed to be working, and then also signed and submitted his own time records falsely indicating that he was at work. The Surfacing Foreman also failed to fully and honestly answer OIG’s questions regarding the dates he was observed at home when he claimed he was at work.
In response to OIG’s investigation and report, LIRR brought disciplinary charges against the Track Foreman and the Surfacing Foreman. They each received a 30 calendar days suspension without pay, worth nearly $16,000 total, and agreed to make restitution of over $2,600.
These investigations and reports were conducted by Senior Investigative Attorney YuJin Hong, and other members of the OIG’s Legal & Investigations Unit.
The OIG’s Report #2021-17 LIRR Surfacing Foreman’s Time Abuse and False Filings, including findings and recommendations, is available for download here.
The OIG’s Report #2021-21 Time Abuse and False Filing by Track Foreman and Surfacing Foreman, including findings and recommendations, is available for download here.
The MTA Inspector General encourages all members of the public to reach out with complaints, tips, or to report fraud via the Office’s confidential tip reporting portals: online here, by telephone 1-800-682-4448 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
 The criminal charges in the federal matter and the description of them here constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.