Following the state Attorney General’s raid of the North Bergen Parks and Recreation Dept., two employees have been charged with getting paid for no-show jobs, Acting Attorney General John Jay Hoffman announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Abraham Garcia, 56, of North Bergen, and Walter Somick, 46, of Wayne, are charged with allegedly falsifying timesheets for no-show jobs in the township’s parks and recreation department.
The two men were charged last night. Each was served with a summons and were not arrested, authorities said. Both men were charged as the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
Garcia works as supervisor of security by the North Bergen Board of Education, and he is an assistant football coach at North Bergen High School. Notwithstanding those jobs, he also is employed as a recreational aide by the North Bergen Department of Parks and Recreation, officials said.
The state’s investigation revealed that the rec department paid Garcia at a rate of $1,038 every two weeks in 2014 and $1,094 every two weeks in 2015.
Garcia consistently submitted timesheets indicating he worked 42 hours for the two-week pay period. However, he allegedly falsified timesheets to indicate he worked for the rec department during hours when he was home, running errands, socializing or doing other things unrelated to his township hall job, officials said.
Through surveillance and other means, detectives identified in excess of 130 hours when Garcia allegedly claimed to be working for the DPR, but was not working for the township, authorities said.
Somick is a union electrician and, like Garcia, is also employed as a recreational aide by the North Bergen Department of Parks and Recreation.
The state’s investigation revealed that the department paid Somick at a rate of $1,405 every two weeks in 2014 and $1,481 every two weeks in 2015.
Somick submitted timesheets indicating that the number of hours he worked varied from one pay period to the next, but they reflected an average of approximately 60 hours of work every two weeks, officials said.
Allegedly, he falsified timesheets to indicate he worked for the rec department during hours when he was really at his home engaged in personal activities. Detectives identified in excess of 110 hours when Somick claimed to be working for the township, but actually was not, authorities said.
Walter Somick is one of the sons of Kathryn Somick, the girlfriend of North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco.
“We charge that these men were corruptly collecting substantial salaries at the expense of municipal taxpayers for hours when they never even showed up for work,” Hoffman said in a statement.
“Local residents pay enough in property taxes without having to foot the bill for fraud. We’re working to root out this type of abuse of public resources.”
While details were scarce at the time, agents of the state Attorney General’s Office raided the North Bergen Parks and Recreation Dept. on March 9.
Then, on March 24, Larry Wainstein, Sacco’s main opposition for the May 12 municipal election, filed an ethics complaint with the state Department of Education alleging that Sacco used his political influence to get his, and Somick’s, family members jobs jobs in the board of education.
At the time, a spokesman for the township said the allegations had “no merit whatsoever.”