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Translator fined $20G for billing city while working elsewhere

Lost in the translation was city money.

A former city Education Department translator has been slapped with a $20,000 fine for moonlighting and fake billing, officials said Wednesday.

Nasser Larkem, 43, started worked as a department translator in 2005 and kept the job for a decade, department officials said.

But a Feb. 14 Conflicts of Interest Board decision said Larkem “engaged in one of the largest misuses of city time ever prosecuted by the board.”

Between January 2013 and September 2015, Larkem performed 471.5 hours of translation work for the French Institute, while he was also billing the Education Department for his time.

The stolen time amounted to $15,540.67 worth of Larkem’s salary, the board said.

And since the city does business with the French Institute, Larkem also violated moonlighting rules that prohibit its employees from working for its vendors.

City education officials fired Larkem in 2015 after an investigation uncovered the wrongdoing.

Larkem could not be reached for comment.

Department spokeswoman Miranda Barbot said the city has undertaken steps to strengthen accountability in its translation unit.

“This behavior is a gross misuse of valuable taxpayer dollars and he was immediately terminated,” Barbot said.

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