Puerto Rico’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has referred a former Maritime Transportation Administration (ATM) employee who worked as a vessel captain to the Department of Justice and the Office of Government Ethics for allegedly illegally benefiting from more than $18,000 in overtime without working on them.

The referral follows an OIG investigation that spanned the period from January 1 to December 31, 2021. According to the investigation, the employee was clocking in hours or days they were not scheduled to work, thereby altering their attendance records to reflect more hours than actually worked.

The situation in question may result in a public employee misappropriating $18,685.46 in public funds belonging to the Treasury by making overtime records without the agency head’s permission and without reviewing such records at the time of assignment.

The amount determined may be higher because the employee appears to have embezzled public funds in a scheme that may have continued well before the period under investigation. On the other hand, the aforementioned affected the financial condition of the ATM and did not allow the entity to use the specified funds to service its operations.

The OIG confirmed deficiencies in the internal control system at the ATM that merited remediation because the investigation found that attendance letters did not match the employee’s and supervisor’s signatures.

In this regard, ATM managers reported that they did not have access to ADP’s electronic attendance platform, which prevented them from verifying and authorizing electronic attendance records maintained by their subordinates. However, the above was not an obstacle to the full processing of the overtime payment registered by the employee without confirmation that he actually kept the registered working hours.

Information for payment of regular hours and overtime is processed with data collected from ADP’s electronic assistance system without additional verification by responsible ATM personnel.

The results of the report with recommendations are available on the official OIG website at www.oig.pr.gov.

If you have information about irregularities in the use of public funds or actions that may constitute corruption, you can contact the OIG at our confidential line at 787-679-7979 or by email at [email protected] .