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Press Release

Bergen County Man Admits Nearly Half Million Dollars in Overtime Fraud Involving Hudson Bergen Light Rail Projects

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County, New Jersey, man today admitted more than $487,000 in overtime fraud involving projects on which he worked relating to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail (HBLR), U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Joseph Ferrara, 56, of North Arlington, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Julien X. Neals in Newark federal court to one count of embezzling, stealing, and obtaining by fraud more than $487,000 of funds belonging to and under the care, custody and control of the HBLR. 

According to the documents filed in this case:

From January 2018 through April 2020, Ferrara submitted fraudulent claims for compensation related to work performed on HBLR projects on which he had worked as an employee of a subcontractor specializing in electrical work. The HBLR maintains approximately two dozen stations throughout Hudson County and serves more than 50,000 passengers each weekday. Ferrara, who supervised numerous workers on HBLR projects, was compensated at a regular rate for normal workday hours, at an elevated overtime rate for work performed during non-regular weekday hours and Saturdays, and at a double time rate for work performed on Sundays.  During a more than two-year period, Ferrara submitted claims for compensation covering hundreds of hours relating to work allegedly performed during regular, overtime and double time hours knowing that he had not actually performed that work for his employer or on HBLR projects. For example, Ferrara admitted that he spent approximately 10 days vacationing in Florida in both late December 2018 and late December 2019 during which he performed no work for his employer or upon HBLR projects. Nevertheless, Ferrara submitted fraudulent claims representing that he had worked more than 200 hours at regular, overtime and double time rates during those periods. In total, Ferrara admitted to receiving $487,899 in compensation for hours during which he performed no work. As part of his plea agreement, Ferrara agreed to forfeit this amount.  

The theft charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 5, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents with the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.


Updated April 30, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-156