HAMMOND | An 18-year veteran of the East Chicago Police Department was indicted Wednesday on 12 fraud charges relating to an alleged ghost payrolling scheme, federal court records state.
The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago said 42-year-old Robert Aponte defrauded his employers by receiving inflated wages from his private security side jobs. Federal prosecutors claim he submitted time sheets that falsely overstated the hours he had worked between January 2009 and September 2011.
Some of the security shifts Aponte worked at several low-income public housing properties overlapped with shifts he worked at Safety Training and Tracing, a company that provides traffic control services at the BP Refinery in Whiting, according to the indictment.
Aponte received $3,744 as part of the alleged scheme, court records state.
Aponte, who lives in Chesterton, has worked for the East Chicago Police Department for 18 1/2 years. During that time, he served about eight years as an officer in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area based in Crown Point. At the time of the indictment, Aponte was assigned to East Chicago's gang and narcotics unit, Police Chief Mark Becker said.
"It's never good to see a police officer's name on a federal indictment," Becker said.
He said Aponte may be reassigned pending the outcome of the federal case. Aponte is facing six counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud, court records state.
The case was investigated by the FBI.