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Long IslandCrime

Suffolk DA: Former LIRR conductor pleads guilty in ticket fraud scheme

Passengers at the Long Island Rail Road station

Passengers at the Long Island Rail Road station in Mineola on Monday. Credit: Reece T. Williams

A former Long Island Rail Road conductor pleaded guilty to official misconduct Wednesday after his arrest earlier this year in a ticket fraud scheme, Suffolk prosecutors said.

They said a judge sentenced Robert Anderson, 61, to a $1,000 fine after he admitted to the misdemeanor charge.

Prosecutors alleged at the time of the West Islip man's April arrest that he had collected train tickets, but failed to punch them before giving them to acquaintances to use or submit for refunds.

Investigators said the scheme took place between April 2019 and September 2020, when Anderson pulled off the fraud at least eight times.

They said the conductor handed in collection revenue reports that falsely said he had remitted all the tickets he had collected during his shift. Conductors provide reports for every shift that account for all tickets and revenue collected, according to authorities.

Anderson also had faced misdemeanor charges of petit larceny and felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and could have been sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison if convicted of the top count, law enforcement officials said.

"Justice is on time and on track — riders and taxpayers expect that when they pay a train fare it is going to support the railroad, not into an LIRR conductor’s pockets," Carolyn Pokorny, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s inspector general, said in a statement Wednesday.

Authorities said the LIRR suspended Anderson without pay after his arrest and then he resigned.

Anderson’s attorney, William Wexler, said in an interview Wednesday that his client started working for the LIRR in 2004.

"I just think he had a huge lapse of judgment. He had no other issues, 17 years on the railroad," the lawyer added.

Suffolk District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement after Anderson's sentencing that government employees need to be held accountable "when they abuse their positions as custodians of public funds."

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