Metro-North Hit by Worker Fraud Charges

Metro-North Railroad, still reeling from the fatal train wreck on December 1 and consequent operating changes forced by federal inquiries, now is contending with an investigation by the inspector general of its parent agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to reporting by Matt Flegenheimer in The New York Times (Dec. 19). The investigation, covering a period earlier in 2013, found that every foreman on the railroad covered by the investigation “abused his position by engaging in nonwork related activities during business hours”, simultaneously involving subordinates in the scams and filing inaccurate time sheets.  The audit appears to be more of a sampling than a comprehensive investigation, as only 8 individuals were investigated; still, the fact that all 8 were found to be at fault suggests that a wide pattern of fraudulent behavior within the railroad’s personnel may exist.  Specific incidents cited included long trips during working hours for nonbusiness purposes, including trips to Pennsylvania to buy cigarettes and, apparently, fireworks (the work locations of the individuals were not reported; it should be noted that one Metro-North location, Port Jervis, lies at the Pennsylvania-New York border); another individual was noted as driving aimlessly for hours while collecting overtime.  A previous investigation, reported in September, focused on machinists and their supervisors, and reported work days spent largely at fast-food chains and a hardware store.

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