Officer Accused of Bilking East St. Louis Police Department with Fraudulent Overtime Requests
An East St. Louis police officer is under federal indictment for allegedly taking thousands of dollars in fake overtime pay, U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft announced today. Mario H. Fennoy, 48, of Lebanon, Illinois, has been charged by a federal grand jury with fraudulently obtaining overtime compensation from the East St. Louis Police Department for nearly a year.
Fennoy allegedly began submitting false claims for overtime pay in 2017, while he was employed as a patrol sergeant. According to the indictment, Fennoy was actually at home, spending extended periods of time at a secondary residence, when he was supposedly out working the streets. The indictment further alleges that Fennoy falsely cleared calls and reported responding to dispatches when, in fact, he never left the house. From April 2017 to March 2018, Fennoy is accused of submitting over 50 bogus requests for overtime pay, totaling more than 200 hours. He is accused of using the fraud to significantly boost his earnings. The charge alleges that in 2017 Fennoy received a base salary of $69,382, but after overtime, he received more than $205,000 in total wages.
"Every day, many dedicated police officers report to work in East St. Louis, one of the most impoverished and dangerous jurisdictions in the country, to protect and serve the people who live there," U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft said. "Due to serious understaffing, many of them work considerable overtime hours trying to improve the safety of this community. We strongly support the men and women in law enforcement who work in these difficult circumstances. But at the same time, the U.S. Attorney’s office will continue to serve its critical role preserving the public trust by holding law enforcement accountable when necessary."
Fraudulently obtaining money from an organization that receives federal funds, like the East St. Louis Police Department, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Restitution is mandatory.
An indictment is merely a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the satisfaction of a jury.
The investigation was conducted by the Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force, which consists of agents with the FBI, Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation, and the Illinois State Police. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman R. Smith. Citizens are encouraged to report suspicions of public corruption to the Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force Tip Line at (618) 589-7373.