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Bronx custodians defrauded city with "ghost employee" hires

Custodians defrauded the city out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by listing “no-show” custodial employees on their payrolls at two Bronx high schools.

A report released today by Special Commissioner of Investigation Robert Condon details how custodians at Harry Truman High School and the Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus kept employees on the school’s custodial payrolls during hours when they were not working. Some of these same employees were put to work doing construction and maintenance work on another custodian’s private properties and paid with school funds.

The report finds that custodians Trifon Radef and Nicanor Fernandez put at least four people on the payrolls of Truman and Roosevelt who were paid for hours they never worked. The report calls them “ghost employees” and recommends that the six men no longer be allowed to work for the city’s Department of Education. It also calls on the DOE to examine its policy of allowing custodians to hold multiple jobs at different schools.

“The current system allowed multiple individuals to be paid over many years although they never appeared for work,” the report states. “It is unacceptable that one or more supervisors did not question their whereabouts and uncover this scheme.”

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