Sanitation worker Michael Morelli arrested for lying about assault in Queens, police say

A sanitation worker shoveling snow has been charged with making up an assault in an effort to cover-up an apparent on-duty tryst with a prostitute, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

The worker, 31-year-old Michael Morelli, was in Jamaica, Queens, digging out a street corner in the blizzard-weary borough on Wednesday, when he was apparently approached by a prostitute, a law enforcement official said. Morelli followed the woman into an abandoned building on South Road and paid her $40 for her services. 

But Morelli, a sanitation worker since September, is accused of trying to cover it up.

On his way back to work, Morelli said he spotted two men smoking marijuana by the corner of Guy Brewer Boulevard and Liberty Avenue, a law enforcement official said. He allegedly told investigators the men then tried to rob him, pistol-whipping him and grabbing his cell phone.

But when police went to investigate the claim, they found that Morelli wasn’t telling the truth, forcing the sanitation worker to recant his claims, the law enforcement official said.

Morelli, who was taken to an area hospital and treated for minor injuries, was charged with filing a false report, police said. Morelli received a desk appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in court on March 11, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Morelli is out with an injury, with disciplinary action pending his return, a spokeswoman for the Department of Sanitation said.