Officials: Wildwood mayor, 2 others indicted for receiving illegal health benefits

Officials say the Wildwood mayor and two others allegedly filled out their time sheets to wrongly reflect they were full-time city employees.

Lanette Espy

Mar 30, 2023, 1:44 PM

Updated 470 days ago

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The mayor of Wildwood, a former mayor and a city commissioner have been indicted by a New Jersey grand jury for allegedly fraudulently participating in a state health insurance program.
Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced Wednesday a state grand jury has returned a 12-count indictment against Wildwood Mayor Peter Byron, 67, former Mayor Ernest Troiano Jr., 72, and current City Commissioner Steve Mikulski, 57, in connection with their allegedly fraudulent participation in the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP). All three men are residents of Wildwood.
Officials say they are facing several charges, including second-degree theft by unlawful taking and third-degree tampering with public records. All three men pleaded not guilty.
Byron pleaded guilty last week to tax fraud charges.
Since 2010, New Jersey law has required 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 SHBP and receive publicly funded health care. Byron, Troiano, and Mikulski were never eligible because they were never “full-time” employees as defined by state law, officials say.
Officials say it is alleged that all three men fraudulently enrolled in the SHBP and received publicly funded health benefits. They filled out their time sheets to wrongly reflect they were full-time city employees, according to officials.
As a result, officials say Wildwood and the SHBP paid over $286,500 in premiums and claims on behalf of Troiano from July 2011 through December 2019. Officials say $608,900 was paid in premiums and claims on behalf of Byron from July 2011 through October 2021. Wildwood and the SHBP have paid over $103,000 in premiums and claims on behalf of Mikulski through October 2021, according to officials.
If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison.


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