MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon residents expressed indignation - but not surprise - over reports that Mount Vernon Police Officer Joseph Russo was charged with 37 felony and misdemeanor counts for alledgedly taking money from overtime hours that he didn’t work.
The 15-year veteran of the force was accused of submitting overtime reports and Westchester County Traffic Board STEP forms to the Mount Vernon Police Department claiming he worked two hours of overtime on seven occasions last year.
“With all the corruption we have at the top coming from the mayor’s office, is it really that much of a shock,” resident Bob Ayala asked outside of the police station on Thursday. “Just someone else trying to line their pockets at our expense.”
Russo was arrested in February following an investigation by the Mount Vernon Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit. The 47-year-old netted approximately $500 in illicit overtime pay, officials said.
Monroe Street resident Liv Taylor said she wasn’t sure if the punishment and charges were deserving of the crime.
“We have knife fights, shooting, gang problems and we’re focusing our energy on this,” she said. “Unless there is more to it than we know of, I think we have other fish to fry.”
An indictment handed down last month added multiple counts to the charge, including a felony charge of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. Misdemeanor charges against him include petty larceny and second-degree offering a false instrument.
Russo is due back in court on Sept. 24.