New Jersey Longshoreman Convicted in Ghost Worker Scheme

Paul Moe probably wishes he showed up for work more often. On October 31, Moe, a member of the International Longshoremen’s Association and a foreman for a shipping company at Port of Elizabeth, N.J., was convicted by a Newark federal jury on all 14 counts of wire conspiracy related to a scam in which he collected a nearly $500,000 annual full-time salary for what amounted in practice to part-time work for as few as eight hours a week. The jury had deliberated for two hours following a 10-day trial. Moe had been indicted in July. The actions follow a joint probe by the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, Office of Inspector General and Employee Benefits Security Administration, along with the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

According to prosecutors, Moe, 66, a resident of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., during September 2015-March 2017 was employed at Port of Elizabeth to supervise the maintenance and repair of shipping container equipment. To collect his $9,300 weekly paychecks, he persuaded other conspirators to submit false daily time sheets crediting him for hours, including overtime, not worked. Eventually, the Department of Labor was alerted to the situation, and conducted an investigation. The DOL concluded that Moe, far from being a full-time employee, only occasionally showed up. A subsequent Justice Department probe supported this finding. Moe, in fact, had spent a lot of his work time vacationing out of state and even out of the country. He would be arrested and indicted on July 20 of this year on one count of wire fraud conspiracy and 13 counts of wire fraud. Moe’s attorney claimed that his client was framed. A federal jury last month thought otherwise. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.