Shared by Phil Stilton May 7, 2021
May 7, 2021
SOURCE: SHORE NETWORK NEWS
TOMS RIVER, NJ – Formal charges of public healthcare benefits fraud and official misconduct have been filed against Toms River Mayor Maurice B. Hill and Business Administrator Lou Amoroso over alleged illegal benefits given to a politically and romantically connected former township employee.
Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick filed a nine-page complaint with the New Jersey Office of Public Integrity and Accountability on Friday. Rodrick alleges that Mayor Mo Hill and Amoroso illegally provided the girlfriend of Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman medical and retirement benefits she was not qualified to receive.
At last Tuesday’s township council meeting, Rodrick attempted to bring the matter before Toms River Council President Kevin Geoghegan, Mo Hill’s 2019 running mate, but Geoghegan ordered that Rodrick’s microphone be turned off while he was speaking. Township officials also altered the public record and removed Rodrick’s comment from the official meeting video file.
Rodrick claims he was tipped off of the health insurance fraud by an employee of the township last summer. Shortly afterward, the Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation into the alleged fraud, ordering the township to turn over thousands of documents related to employee benefits, health coverage, and retirement accounts. No formal criminal charges have been filed as of yet by the Attorney General’s Office.
“In August of 2020, It had been brought to my attention that Toms River Court Administrator Joanne Flanagan, the live-in girlfriend of Ocean County Republican Chairman Frank Holman, was receiving retirement benefits and that Ms. Flanagan did not serve the required time to earn those benefits. In addition to being the County Chairman, Mr. Holman’s firm is also the Toms River Township Auditor, which I believe makes his actions even more egregious,” Rodrick wrote in his complaint. “Township employees are required to have 25 years in the PERS to receive health insurance in retirement, but 20 of those years must be served in Toms River. Employees who have had 25 years, in PERS, but not enough time in Toms River, have been turned down for medical benefits in retirement.”
Rodrick said there are exceptions with certain types of contracts, but those exceptions must be voted on. No such vote had taken place in regard to Ms. Flanagan. The previous council had just turned down a similar request for a Tax Assessor candidate who then decided to seek employment elsewhere.
Rodrick said he has been working closely with Sergeant Kiersten Pentony from the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability as far back as August 2020.
“However, at the time – I had no proof that benefit theft was actually occurring. Although through a good source, it was still hearsay,” Rodrick said. “The complaint came from a high-level member of the administration, but it did not come to me directly, it came through a spouse.”
Rodrick claims he then submitted multiple OPRA requests to the township to obtain proof of the crime, which carries minimum mandatory jail sentences for those involved in the fraud. He said township officials colluded against him to deny his requests for documents.
“What ensued was three months of obstruction and cover-up, by Business Administrator Louis Amoruso, followed by a partial release of Horizon Bills for the Month of February by Township Clerk Allison Carlisle. Business administrator Amoruso never complied with requests for a list of retirees seeking to receive health benefits,” Rodrick said. “The cover may have been a collaborative effort, involving Township Business Administrator Lou Amoruso, Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill, Township Clerk Alison Carlisle, CFO Alexander Davidson, and Benefits Coordinator Nora Robinson.”
In those documents, Rodrick said he found bills show Flannigan is receiving dental insurance from the township, a benefit he also claims she is not entitled to.
Rodrick also claims township officials altered public records and documents he did receive in an attempt to conceal the benefits being provided to Flanagan. Rodrick estimates the total potential of the alleged healthcare fraud could be tens of thousands of dollars and eluded that there could be more. He requested the state to perform a full forensic audit on the township’s records.
We reached out to Lou Amoroso earlier this week and have not received a response. We called Frank Holman but he is blocking our calls. Council President Kevin Geoghegan has also declined to comment on the matter of the altering of the township meeting video.