DA: Mount Vernon cop faked overtime

A Mount Vernon police officer lied about working overtime to pad his paycheck, the Westchester County district attorney's office said.

Joseph Russo, 47, was suspended from his job and arrested Wednesday, almost five months after he allegedly submitted falsified overtime reports, prosecutors said.

Russo claimed he worked two hours of overtime on Sept. 17 and Sept. 18, 2012, submitting three different city and county forms that resulted in an extra $226.60 in his paycheck, the district attorney's office said.

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As a traffic safety officer, Russo claimed he worked overtime for the Westchester County Traffic Safety Board, or STEP, program. Like other groups, including county STOP DWI, the STEP program provides funds to augment police patrols and special duties such as aggressive driving campaigns.

Russo, who has been with the Mount Vernon Police Department since Aug. 15, 1998, earned $83,606 in 2011 and $85,907 in 2012, according to state records.

Police charged Russo with two counts of felony first-degree falsifying business records. Russo's arrest was the result of an investigation by the Mount Vernon police internal affairs unit. He was arraigned in Yonkers City Court and was released pending a court hearing on March 27.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Russo had an attorney. A phone message left at his home Wednesday evening was not returned.

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