Photo: vxla via flickr
The FBI arrested 10 people Thursday morning for helping scam $1 billion worth of disability pensions from the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).City Room reports two doctors, a previous union president, and several former rail workers have all been charged with helping hundreds of LIRR workers falsify pension claims to receive exorbitant benefits.
Charges of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud stem from the investigation begun after this New York Times story was published in 2008.
The Times reported that nearly all career employees at the LIRR were applying for and receiving disability payments lifting the federal agency’s disability rating three to four times greater that of other railroads.
When Times reporters investigated disability recipients they found many enjoying sports and recreation far beyond the limits of their physical maladies.
One defendant receiving more than $100,000 in annual pension and disability payments played tennis several times a week and golfed more than 100 times in a year. This, after claiming severe pain when gripping anything in his hands, crouching, or bending.
From City Room:
Another defendant, an L.I.R.R. office worker, who also collects more than $100,000 a year in pension and disability payments and complained of significant neck, shoulder, hand and leg pain when standing for more than five minutes, was seen under surveillance shoveling heavy snow and walking with a stroller for a long period of time, the person said.
And a third person, who receives more than $75,000 in payments annually and claimed to be suffering from severe and disabling back pain, went on a 400-mile bike tour around New York State, the people said.
The accused are looking at up to 20 years if convicted.
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