US

Feds rake in evidence against accused MTA overtime cheats

Feds rake in evidence against accused MTA overtime cheats

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday promised a trove of digital evidence against the five Long Island Railroad workers accused of ripping off the MTA — which they alleged would show the men were clocking in while not actually at work.

The cache of evidence includes 48,000 pages of documents that totals about eight and half gigabytes of information, Assistant US Attorney Paul Monteleoni said in Manhattan federal court, as suspects Thomas Caputo, Joseph Ruzzo, John Nugent, Joseph Balestra and Frank Pizzonia were arraigned.

The material includes information gleaned from cell site data, financial documents and MTA records relating to time, attendance, pay and assignments from the state agency, Monteleoni said.

The prosecutors intend to compare them to cell site data and other records that they say will show the defendants’ real locations when they were supposed to be on the clock.

All five men pleaded not guilty to the two-count indictment against them on charges of conspiracy and federal program fraud at the court hearing.

Caputo, Ruzzo, Nugent and Balestra were all among the MTA’s top earners during the alleged scam, with Caputo raking in $461,000 in total wages during 2018.

The men allegedly “worked together to fraudulently claim pay for hours they did not work by, among other things, repeatedly covering for one another’s absences from work while nonetheless understanding that time sheets including the unworked hours would be submitted,” court papers say.

At least twice while the clock was rolling, Caputo was bowling on Long Island, prosecutors have alleged.

Last week, the Post reported that suspect Frank Pizzonia is the son of reputed Gambino captain Dominick “Skinny Dom” Pizzonia.

The elder Pizzonia was convicted in 2007 for plotting the murders of Ozone Park couple Thomas and Rosemarie Uva, who robbed his social club, Cafe Liberty in the Queens neighborhood.

Suspect Joseph Balestra is also the son of a wannabe wiseguy, who was busted in the early 1990s for orchestrating a $14,000, 17-gun deal with two New York gangsters — though his attorney said he was raised by his stepdad and hardly knew his biological father.

None have been accused of mob involvement, and the ties were not mentioned at Wednesday’s arraignment.

Additional reporting by David Meyer

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James Thompson

James Thompson has worked in various news organizations and now aims to make Report Door one of the best and fastest growing news websites in the U.S. He contributes to the US and World sections.

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