Department of Transportation worker pleads guilty after getting thousands in fake reimbursements

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A stack of receipts beside a laptop

A stack of receipts beside a laptop. (Pexels / Pixabay)

MAYFIELD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Department of Transportation assistant engineer pleaded guilty on Tuesday afternoon to creating false receipts to be reimbursed for close to $3,500 in phony expenses.

Kenneth Leisenring, 54, of Whitesboro, pleaded guilty to attempted defrauding of the government. He admitted to falsifying documents from an RV park on his work computer and submitting them to get reimbursement for trips he did actually not take. He fully repaid $3,445.56 as a condition of pleading.

“State employees who travel as part of their work duties are required to abide by strict guidelines and measures to ensure accountability and protect taxpayer funds,” said Inspector General Tagliafierro. “This individual flouted those guidelines and created fake receipts to obtain more than $3,000 in reimbursement he was not entitled to receive.”

Leisenring, an Assistant Engineer who retired in May, oversaw projects like bridge rehabilitation, debris removal, and roundabout construction in and around Mayfield in Fulton County. His fraudulent receipts suggested long-term lodging at the Sunset Bay Vacation Resort RV Park and Marina on Sacandaga Lake. Department staff reportedly found that he overreported expenses and received reimbursements he was not entitled to.

The Inspector General’s investigation found that Leisenring rented at the RV park starting in April 2019 for $3,800, paid with his personal credit card. He then submitted six fake receipts every few weeks from June through August. According to the owner of the RV park, the fake receipts were “cut and pasted from our old website,” and he did not recognize the signatures on Leisenring’s documents.

Not only did the Department of Transportation pay out $3,445.56 based on fraudulent submissions, but Leisenring tried to submit $1,351.20 more. He was not entitled to a per-diem while staying at the RV park. Leisenring also tried to “correct” his submissions with a supervisor and handle the matter “in-house,” noting his impending May retirement date.

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