City to recoup $1.4 million from custodians’ “ghost employee” scheme

Three years after investigators concluded that two Bronx high school custodians had defrauded the city out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by listing “no-show” employees on their payrolls, the city announced a deal to get the money back.

The six defendants in a civil lawsuit that the city brought in response to the scheme will actually pay back three times what they stole, according to the city’s announcement.

The scheme was masterminded by Trifon Radef, who had worked at Roosevelt High School, and Nicanor Fernandez, who had worked at Truman High School, investigators found. Radef has since died, and his estate will pay $1 million to the city. The five other school workers will together repay $401,900.

Here’s a more positive take on school custodians in New York City, from the time that city officials hailed them as heroes for repairing school buildings damaged in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy.