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More Arrests In LIRR Disability Fraud Scandal

Posted by Gold_12TH on Tue May 22 13:54:36 2012


video link: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7312199

n more workers have been charged in connection with the alleged Long Island Rail Road pension scam.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested six people Tuesday morning during raids in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports.

Three others surrendered at FBI headquarters in Manhattan and one other person was arrested in Florida, officials said.

Those charged in this latest round of arrests have been identified as LIRR retirees Brian Delgiorno, Philip Pulsonetti, Gregory Bianchini, Franklin Plaia, Michael Stavola, Michael Dasaro, Karl Brittell, Kevin Nugent, Gary Supper and Thomas Delalla.

The defendants are accused of paying doctors to say they were unable to work to collect disability and pension checks.

The LIRR released the following statement Tuesday:

“The LIRR condemns any fraudulent activity associated with federal disability pension benefits. In August 2008 when the LIRR became aware of the high rate of LIRR retiree applications, the LIRR asked the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) Inspector General and the MTA Inspector General to investigate. The LIRR has cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the MTA Inspector General’s Office and the Railroad Retirement Board Inspector General’s office in their investigations of fraudulent disability pension applications. We support their efforts to root out fraud.

“The creation of the voluntary disclosure and disposition program by the U.S. Attorney’s Office offers an important opportunity for any LIRR retiree who engaged in fraudulent activity with regard to filing for a federal disability pension to come forward, accept responsibility, avoid prosecution and avoid the potential loss of LIRR company pension benefits. The LIRR urges those involved to carefully consider this offer. These federal pension benefits – administered by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board – must be reserved for those who are truly disabled.

“Federal disability benefits are funded by railroad employer and employee payroll taxes across the United States. We hope the U.S. Attorney’s investigation will send a strong message to those who seek to defraud this important federal program.”

Last October, 11 people — including two orthopedists — were charged with conspiracy in a scheme that caught so-called disabled retirees on video out playing golf and running marathons after their retirement.

The doctors ran “disability fraud mills“ to “pad patients files” with false reports paid in cash for each fake “disability diagnosis,” officials said.

The hundreds of false disability claims cost the Federal Railroad Retirement Board an estimated $1 billion over the past decade, according to authorities.

More than 90 percent of LIRR employees who sought a disability pension got one in the alleged fraud scheme which apparently dates back to 1998, officials said.

Other employees who may be involved in the alleged scheme are being offered a chance to come clean.

In exchange for admitting false claims, and giving up certain disability rights, former workers would be able to keep their pension benefits and won’t be prosecuted.


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