(HAMMOND, Ind.) A federal indictment alleges a northwest Indiana police detective engaged in a ghost-payroll scheme involving three security side jobs -- two at apartment complexes and one at the BP refinery -- for nearly three years, while also working his full-time police job.
Robert Aponte, 42, of Chesterton, Ind., is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Monday in U.S. District Court in Hammond, the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago said. He is charged with six counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Hammond on Wednesday. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago is handling the prosecution, according to a release from federal prosecutors.
Aponte has been an East Chicago, Ind., police officer for 19 years, and during that time, he also served about eight years with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force in Crown Point, Ind., the release said.
According to the indictment, between January 2009 and September 2011, Aponte submitted time sheets that overstated the hours he worked at his private security side jobs.
While working full-time for the East Chicago police, Aponte held part-time jobs as a security officer at the East Chicago Housing Authority's West Calumet Housing Complex; at Trillium Properties' Lakeside Gardens and Harborside Apartments; and at Safety Training and Tracing, controlling and directing traffic at the BP refinery in Whiting, the release said.
Aponte allegedly scheduled shifts at West Calumet that overlapped with shifts at the Trillium properties and the refinery. The East Chicago Housing Authority paid him for security patrols at West Calumet, when, instead, he was patrolling at Lakeside Gardens, Harborside Apartments or the refinery. In addition, he allegedly inflated the hours he worked for the housing authority and Trillium, the indictment alleges.
Each count of mail or wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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