An accused MTA overtime cheat has been collecting a massive pension that the feds say was boosted by pay he didn’t actually earn — but that gravy train could soon be thrown into reverse!
Thomas Caputo, 56, of Holbrook, LI, raked in $144,000 in pension benefits during the past year, it was revealed in court following his arrest Thursday.
The MTA said Friday that if he’s convicted, officials would seek to claw back the proceeds of his alleged scam and slash his pension accordingly.
“We are pursuing all available options to recoup the stolen overtime and resulting pension,” MTA spokeswoman Abbey Collins said.
“This is an egregious breach of the public’s trust and we will take all necessary actions to root out waste, fraud and abuse wherever it occurs.”
Caputo, a former LIRR track inspector, took early retirement in March 2019 amid an investigation into the $461,646 he took home the previous year.
The eye-popping amount — which made him the agency’s highest-paid employee — comprised a $117,499-a-year salary and $344,147 for an improbable 3,864 hours of overtime.
To actually earn that much, Caputo would have had to work more than 10 hours “every single calendar day in 2018 including weekends and holidays (although he did not)…in addition to his regular, 40-hour work week,” court papers allege.
Instead, prosecutors said, Caputo “frequently” spent that time “at home or at other non-work locations,” including a bowling alley in Patchogue, LI.
And as if that weren’t enough, on several occasions Caputo “also falsely claimed to have worked regular time hours that he did not work,” according to court papers.
Because transit workers’ pensions are based on the three highest-paid years of the 10 before they retire, the feds said Caputo’s alleged scam increased his pension benefits.
The MTA wouldn’t say Friday how much of Caputo’s pension was the result of his claimed overtime.
Last year, The Post visited his home and found renovations that included a brick-and-stone driveway — but no sign of the broken-down Volkswagen Jetta that a Google Street View camera photographed in 2012.
Instead, there was a sleek black Audi Q5 in its place, as well as a BMW and a Honda Accord parked nearby.
No one answered the door at the house on Friday afternoon.
Caputo is among five current and former MTA workers who were charged with one count each of federal program fraud for allegedly scamming overtime payments from the MTA.
The charge carries a maximum 10 years in prison.
Another defendant, Joseph Ruzzo, 56, of Levittown, is also retired, but details of his pension weren’t disclosed.
The three others, John Nugent, 50, of Rocky Point; Joseph Balestra, 51, of Blue Point; and Michael Gunderson, 42, of Manalapan, N.J., remained employed by the MTA.
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