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This tech job's paycheck is a steal

Prosecutors say a Chicago-area man accepted and dumped a job at Avaya, but didn't object to receiving nearly a half-million dollars in erroneous paycheck deposits.

It may sound like a scene from the movie comedy Office Space, but authorities in New Jersey are not laughing.

Like one of the movie's characters--who erroneously receives paychecks--a Chicago-area man has allegedly been receiving nearly $100,000 a year for much of the past five years without actually showing up at the office or doing the job.

And that is what landed Anthony Armatys, 34, in jail about five years after he accepted a job at Avaya Communications, according to a report in the Daily Herald near Chicago. He accepted a job at Avaya in 2002, but backed out without starting the job, the paper reported. However, due to a system error, a paycheck was allegedly being deposited in to Armatys' bank account for the past five years--to the tune of about $470,000.

Armatys was arrested Wednesday at his Palatine, Ill., home on one count of theft by deception for knowingly accepting paychecks for a job he never had, police said. The arrest was the culmination of an 11-month probe by detectives in New Jersey, where the communications company is based.

He may have been the unwitting recipient of a clerical error, but--in the eyes of legal-savvy Daily Herald readers--Armatys crossed the line when he allegedly called Fidelity Investments, identified himself as an Avaya employee, and arranged the withdrawal of about $2,000 from an employee retirement fund to which the company had contributed.

Armatys is being held on $50,000 bail while he is awaiting extradition to New Jersey.

The Armatys family told the newspaper that it had "no comment at all."

Umm, yeah. I think prosecutors are gonna have to ask you to return those paychecks.