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N.Y. CO charged for 2,250 hours of salary, OT fraud

The $170,000 of unearned pay, including filing for overtime from Aruba, is alleged to have happened from July 2021 to January 2023

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By Shaina McLawrence
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A Department of Corrections officer from Staten Island is accused of lying about overtime to receive over $170,000 — even filing overtime while in Aruba, federal prosecutors allege.

Defendant James Internicola, 56, a Tottenville resident according to public records, was charged in Brooklyn federal court with overtime and salary fraud for allegedly clocking in more than 2,250 falsified hours between July 2021 and January 2023.

There were dozens of instances in which the defendant never even showed up to work at all — opting to instead stay at his Staten Island home, go down to the Jersey Shore or even fly internationally to Aruba, the criminal complaint indicated.

Investigators allege that when Internicola did go to work, he would regularly arrive to work two hours later and leave work two hours earlier than he indicated on his timesheet.

After being confronted with example timesheets for hours he did not work, the 27-year corrections veteran acknowledged that the paperwork was inaccurate, but claimed he never signed his name and his supervisor forged his signature, court records show.

When interviewed by investigators, Internicola’s supervisor stated that he never signed the defendant’s name on any documents.

Internicola has resigned as a result of the probe.

FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Downey said Internicola was paid more than $390,000, although his yearly salary is closer to $92,000.

Prosecutors say Internicola allegedly stole at least $171,000 in salary and overtime pay from his employer. DOC officers and employees are paid time and a half if they work more than 40 hours per week. DOC officers have the option of being compensated by cash payment or time off.

According to the court complaint, investigators used license-plate-reader timestamps, E-Z Pass toll data, and cell phone and passport records to find evidence of the defendant’s actual comings and goings to work.

A May warrant for license-plate-reader data issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak revealed that Internicola regularly worked substantially less time than he claimed in documentation submitted to the DOC, Downey said.

Downey said during an 18-month period, Internicola claimed to work more than 2,600 hours of overtime, which is equivalent of more than 140 hours of overtime per month, and more than 33 hours of overtime weekly, records show.

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