TRENTON, N.J. – A Mercer County, New Jersey, man and a Bucks County, Pennsylvania, man today admitted participating in a conspiracy to obtain overtime payments from the city of Trenton for work they did not perform by fraudulently inflating the overtime hours they claimed to have worked conducting residential lead inspections, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Michael Ingram, 71, of Trenton, and William Kreiss, 40, of Yardley, Pennsylvania, each pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to informations charging them with one count of conspiracy to embezzle, steal, and obtain by fraud more than $5,000 in funds from the city of Trenton.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Trenton’s Department of Health and Human Services (Trenton HHS) was required to provide services to identify lead sources in homes in Trenton where children had tested positive for elevated levels of lead in their blood. Beginning in approximately 2018, a New Jersey State grant funded inspections of Trenton properties identified with children with elevated blood lead levels. Trenton’s Bureau of Environmental Health (BEH), a subdivision of Trenton HHS, was responsible for performing these residential lead inspections.
Ingram, a public health investigator for BEH, and Kreiss, a registered environmental specialist for BEH, conducted residential lead inspections with other members of BEH from February 2018 through May 2022. The BEH employee to whom Ingram and Kreiss reported began directing them to bill overtime hours for work they did not perform. Ingram and Kreiss submitted their fraudulent and inflated overtime claims to this BEH employee, who then authorized overtime payments to each of them.
Ingram and Kreiss each admitted submitting claims for overtime work as directed by the BEH employee, including for work they had not performed. The two defendants also admitted they had inflated claims for overtime hours worked in connection with a meal delivery program administered by the city. Through this fraudulent overtime scheme, Ingram admitted he received $22,144 in overtime payments to which he was not entitled, while Kreiss separately admitted he received $32,806 in overtime payments to which he was not entitled.
Ingram and Kreiss each face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for April 24, 2024.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special agents of the Environmental Protection Agency, under the direction of Special Agents in Charge Tyler Amon, Criminal Investigation Division, and Nic Evans, Office of Inspector General; and special agents of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Janine Rocheleau, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric A. Boden, Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Branch Office, under the supervision of the Special Prosecutions Division.