Wildwood mayor, 2 other city officials re-indicted for health insurance fraud

Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron, former mayor Ernest Troiano Jr. and current city commissioner Steve Mikulski were all accused in defrauding the state health benefits program.

Lanette Espy

Aug 3, 2023, 12:12 PM

Updated 327 days ago


Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron, 67, will be on probation for three years and will have to pay a couple hundred thousand dollars in fines after pleading guilty for a health insurance fraud scheme. Two other city officials are also facing charges.
Former mayor Ernest Troiano Jr., 72, and current city commissioner Steve Mikulski, 57, all residents of Wildwood, were also accused in defrauding the state health benefits program.
A state grand jury in Trenton returned a 12-count indictment on Monday against Byron, Troiano and Mikulski, reinstating charges of official misconduct, theft by unlawful taking, tampering with public records and falsifying or tampering with records.
A judge tossed away the charges two months ago. But a grand jury re-instated them after the attorney general's office presented its case again.
“The court stated in dismissing this indictment that the ruling was based on a technical deficiency and that the defendants’ other arguments were unconvincing,” Attorney General Platkin said in a statement. “Today’s decision by the grand jury demonstrates the sufficiency of the evidence supporting these charges and the validity of this case, which we intend to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
New Jersey law requires elected officials to be full-time employees “whose hours of work are fixed at 35 or more per week” in their elected positions to be eligible to participate in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and receive publicly funded healthcare.
Officials say the investigation revealed that Byron, Troiano, and Mikulski, were never eligible because they were never full-time employees according to that definition. They did not receive vacation, sick, or personal days, and maintained no regular schedule. However, officials say it is alleged that all three fraudulently enrolled in the SHBP anyway and received publicly funded health benefits.

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