RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Four of nine city workers accused in an overtime scandal took plea deals today.
The men from Richmond Public Works and Utilities entered pleas for lying about the number of hours they actually worked. All of the men pled to a misdemeanor, taking money by false pretenses. They won't serve jail time, but are required to do 100 hours of community service and all of them must pay back your wasted tax dollars.
It's the American dream; make more - work less. But investigators say these men were living it illegally. Writing down hours of overtime they did not work, but still getting paid by the city.
"All the city employees have to be honest and hardworking," said Richmond City Auditor Umesh Dalal. "When the employees do not do that it causes the city a loss and that is a loss of public dollars."
Based on a tip from the public, the city auditor conducted a six month undercover investigation with hidden cameras and GPS tracking devices.
"Employees were either working some overtime and charging a lot more, or they were going home during regular hours," Dalal said.
These three, Robert Garrett, Clinny Crochet and Richard Acors, did not admit their guilt but admitted there was enough evidence to convict. Attorneys for all three say the men hope to get their jobs back.
"He's happy to have it resolved and he wants to get on with his life," said William Linka.
"He's working man. He doesn't want to go on welfare he doesn't want to go on unemployment," said David Whaley, Garrett's Attorney.
Theodore Wynne plead no contest. His attorney told the judge, "Mr. Wynn was extremely remorseful about the situation."
John Luxton says his client, Richard Acors, was just following the crowd.
"He was following the lead that other people had basically given him," Luxton said. "This is the procedure, this is what we do."
The city auditor blames the supervisors.
"If they were doing their job, the employees would not have been able to charge a large amount of overtime unnecessarily," Dalal said.
The charges were dropped Tuesday against five others who sources say would not take the plea deal. The prosecutor is taking his case against them to a grand jury seeking more serious charges. The four men who took the plea deal remain on administrative leave tonight. They'll face a hearing at City Hall to find out if they get to keep their jobs.
The city auditor tells us his investigation is not over yet. He says more employees at City Hall could face charges.