A SEPTA maintenance manager has been fired by the transportation authority for alleged overtime fraud, an authority spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
Ryan Kappler, 38, of Montgomery County, was arrested by the SEPTA Transit Police Department and faces charges of theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, and receiving stolen property, according to Municipal Court documents filed Tuesday.
He was dismissed by the authority earlier this year, with charges as a result of an investigation by SEPTA’s inspector general, said spokesperson Andrew Busch.
Kappler’s position, a frontline manager overseeing a crew of maintenance personnel within the authority’s buildings and bridges department, was eligible to collect overtime benefits. The average base salary for the position is in the mid-to-high $70,000 range, Busch said.
He had been employed by SEPTA since 2014.
“SEPTA takes seriously any allegations of wage theft by employees," the authority said in a statement. "SEPTA’s Inspector General opened an investigation into this matter as soon as information of alleged wrongdoing came to light. Soon thereafter, the case was referred to criminal authorities, and SEPTA terminated the individual’s employment.”
Busch did not know how much Kappler allegedly collected in improper earnings, or how long they may have been recorded. Kappler’s next court appearance is scheduled Monday, according to court filings.
“I don’t have any kind of documentation on what he is alleged to have improperly claimed as earnings ... but we found irregularities there indicating that there was an issue," Busch said.
Last year, the authority faced a federal investigation into alleged fraudulent spending. The probe centers on fewer than a dozen authority managers who worked with an outside vendor to embezzle money using SEPTA credit cards, sources had told The Inquirer.
SEPTA has since reworked its employee spending policy, including who can use the cards to make SEPTA-related purchases and how much they can spend.