KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – Six employees with the Kansas City Public Works Department have been indicted in connection with an overtime fraud conspiracy that took the city for more than $58,000.
The 13-count indictment was returned under seal by a federal grand jury last month and made public Thursday after the six employees were arrested.
The defendants were identified as 36-year-old Prentis M. Rayford, 47-year-old Eric McKamey, 61-year-old Paul Myers, 47-year-old Edward Lee Ellingburg, 33-year-old Kenneth Gethers and 49-year-old Julio Prospero.
The employees are worked in the Signs Division in the department, and all six are expected to be in court Thursday afternoon.
Prosecutors say the fraud dates back to January of 2013 and ran through November of 2016. They allege the workers would have friends and family members submit false reports of damaged essential signs, like city stop signs of one-way signs, on weekends and after regular working hours.
The indictment states the workers would then report on timecards that they went out to make the repairs, when in reality they did not. The employees were paid for a minimum of four hours, regardless of how much time an actual repair would have taken, and at time and half of their usual rate.
In addition, it is alleged that when some legitimate sign calls came in during off-hours, the workers submitted time sheets saying they responded at those times but instead waited and did the work during regular business hours.
Prosecutors even said the workers went so far as to use an application to disguise their phone number when they submitted the reports to 311.
Managers in the department began to suspect fraud and held an internal investigation from late August 2016 through November of that year, finding that approximately 75 percent of all callouts were fraudulent. The managers then turned the investigation over to the FBI to pursue further.
Three of the workers - Rayford, McKamey, and Gethers - each face three counts of wire fraud while the other three - Myer, Ellingburg, and Prospero - face a single count each.