A subway maintenance man in New York was arrested last week after collecting approximately $250,000 in wages after he had been fired from his job.
Ronald Berry, 47, claims he didn’t know he had been fired six years ago, insisting he has been on sick leave since 2015 for high blood pressure and asthma.
As such, the cleaner travelled to a city Transit office every two weeks to pick up his earnings, and up until now had been able to do so without any problems.
However, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently realised something was up and notified the authorities, resulting in Berry’s subsequent arrest for trespassing when he arrived to collect his paycheck on Thursday (October 3).
Berry told the New York Post:
I never got a call that I was terminated. I’ve been collecting checks for four f*cking years. How am I still collecting checks? It’s a fault on the MTA side.
When he asked his boss how he was still getting paid if he’d been terminated in 2013 as claimed, they allegedly told him: ‘That’s not my problem, that’s payroll’s problem.’ It’s not known how Berry ended up back on the payroll in 2015, two years after he was let go from the company.
Berry was even more confused by the predicament he found himself in because he claims the agency have been sending him letters in recent months, telling him he needs training.
If I’m terminated why am I getting letters from them? The last one I got was at the end of last month and I believe it was for asbestos training or track training.
Now if they would’ve sent me a termination letter, f*ck going to pick a check up… I’m terminated already, let me file for unemployment.
Sources from the MTA said the agency now uses biometric fingerprint technology for ‘clocking in and clocking out’, which they suggested would have put a stop to Berry’s claims sooner.
The paychecks Berry collected were also found to note ‘hours worked’ without any mention of disability, according to MTA sources – suggesting he would not have been able to mistake them for sick pay.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed Berry was charged with criminal trespassing after ‘being observed inside an employee-only NYC transit facility’.
The MTA is also investigating, with spokesperson Tim Minton saying ‘anyone who inappropriately took public money will be held accountable to the full extent of the law’.
UNILAD has reached out to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for comment.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).