NJ Dock Foreman Gets Two Years for Faking Hours on $500K Job (Corrected)

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By John Herzfeld

A New Jersey dock foreman was sentenced to two years in prison for faking his work time to qualify for a $500,000-a-year compensation package while rarely showing up for duty.

Paul Moe Sr. of Atlantic Highlands, N.J., was also ordered to pay $749,000 in restitution at his March 26 sentencing before Katharine S. Hayden of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. He’d been found guilty in October on all counts of wire fraud and conspiracy following a 10-day trial.

The case was the latest sign that the drive to police wage fraud on the New York-New Jersey waterfront, which has gone on for decades, hasn’t ended.

Moe was arrested last July on charges that he’d arranged for others to submit false time sheets, prepared and signed in advance, to cover up for him not reporting to work at the Port Elizabeth, N.J., freight terminal in New York Harbor.

A local conditions labor settlement between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the New York Shipping Association reached in 2013 entitled Moe to a special compensation package for certain incumbent employees.

Under the deal, he would collect pay for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as long as he put in a mandatory 40-hour week. But Moe showed up at the terminal infrequently and typically would stay only three hours or less, prosecutors charged.

Away in Florida, Aruba

The falsified time sheets credited him for 40-hour weeks even when he was in Florida and Aruba or when he spent days at the movies, at a motel, or on his yacht, according to the indictment in the case.

A local conditions labor settlement between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the New York Shipping Association reached in 2013 entitled Moe to a special compensation package for certain incumbent employees.

Under the deal, he would collect pay for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as long as he put in a mandatory 40-hour week. But Moe showed up at the terminal infrequently and typically would stay only three hours or less, prosecutors charged.

The charges covered an 18-month period starting in September 2015.

Free Pending Appeal

Moe’s defense attorney, Gerald J. McMahon of New York, told Bloomberg Law that “we were pleased” that the sentence was below the guidelines range sought by the prosecution and that the judge overrode a government objection to allow Moe to remain out on bail pending appeal.

The court had recognized “at least two significant appellate issues,” McMahon said in an email. The defense argues, first, that the ILA labor agreement “is ambiguous as a matter of law on the issue of whether a person has to be on the pier for 40 hours a week” to qualify for the special compensation package, he said. Second, the employer “had an obligation to tell Moe at some point in the last 15 years” that he had to be at the terminal at least 40 hours per week, McMahon said.

“We are confident that we will win the appeal,” McMahon said.

The case is United States v. Moe, D.N.J., No. 2:17-cr-00277, 3/26/18.

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