Mayor of Wildwood, NJ, officials charged with health benefits fraud
WILDWOOD — Three local officials at a popular Jersey Shore destination are accused of breaking “public trust” by taking for state health benefits they weren’t eligible for.
Mayor Peter Byron, former Mayor Ernest Troiano and current City Commissioner Steven Mikulski are each charged with unlawful taking and falsifying public documents. Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin announced the charges Friday evening.
Byron, 67, and Troiano, 71, were first elected city commissioners in 2011. Prosecutors said the same year they voted to pass a resolution declaring themselves full-time employees working at least 35 hours per week.
Working those hours, the two officials would have been eligible for the state’s health benefits program under a state law passed in 2010.
However, the men “falsely signed and submitted time sheets to the city” claiming they worked full days Monday through Friday, Platkin said.
Prosecutors said Wildwood and SHBP paid $286,500 in premiums and claims for Troiano through 2019. Wildwood and SHBP paid $608,900 in premiums and claims for Byron through 2021, according to the attorney general’s office. .
Mikulski, 57, took office in 2020. He is also accused of taking $103,000 in bonuses paid and claims from Wildwood and SHBP.
“Today, we are bringing charges against current and former public and elected officials for what we allege are breaches of public trust,” Platkin said.
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