Mineola, NY- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos announced that a vendor who paints and repairs vehicles for the Department of Public Works (“DPW”), the Nassau County Police Department and NICE buses has been found to have submitted potentially fraudulent claims amounting to at least $322,258. A review of Nassau Suffolk Truck (“NST”) invoices found that in the first 26 invoices that were audited, all had supporting documents attached that were apparently altered or falsified according to the statements from the original vendors supplying the parts. The apparent fraud was uncovered by the auditors after the Comptroller’s Claims unit referred the vendor to the Audit Division for further review.
“The scale of the falsified invoices appears brazen in scope,” said Comptroller George Maragos. “The matter has been referred to the District Attorney and the County Attorney for legal action. Our auditors will provide assistance to investigators as needed in order to determine the total magnitude of the apparent fraud. The initial finding of over $322,000 may be just the tip of the iceberg.”
Comptroller Maragos further explained how the alleged scheme was uncovered, “Our auditors cross referenced the invoices submitted by NST with the invoices provided to the Auditors by the NST suppliers and discovered the total number and types of parts did not correspond. NST appears to have fabricated the number and type of parts purchased from the suppliers. I immediately directed our Fiscal Officer to stop all further payments to the vendor and have requested the Department of Public Works seek an alternative vendor until this matter can be fully investigated and resolved.”
The County has paid Nassau Suffolk Truck $2.5 million since 2009 from 283 maintenance invoices the vendor submitted. After sufficient findings were made that fraud may have occurred against the County, the Comptroller’s audit was suspended under audit standards, and the matter referred to the County District Attorney and the County Attorney.
Big Trucks Corp LTD DBA Nassau Suffolk Truck also known as Plug-In Trucks, located in Bay Shore, New York, repairs and renovates trucks and heavy equipment for various municipalities. In addition, NST paints and repairs NICE buses, and vehicles of various types for the Department of Public Works (“DPW”) and the Nassau County Police Department (“NCPD”).
In light of the findings, the Comptroller’s Office has additionally advised the Department of Public Works (“DPW”) to use a different vendor for its vehicle maintenance.
Comptroller Maragos added, “Beyond the dollars involved, there are questions that have been raised during the initial audit which include the supervision of their billing by DPW, and the issuance of the County Purchase Order with a maintenance rate higher than the rate submitted in the original bid. These questions will be addressed during the investigation.”