Retirees claiming Disability to bolster their pensions has created a significant scandal in New York. Retirees from the Long Island railroad were charged with fraud for filing fraudulent disability claims. . Some workers have also been offered amnesty if they can give more information on what is becoming a significant scandal in America’s second largest commuter rail system.
It is unclear what the ultimate outcome will be, however, what will the long term implications be for employees with disabilities? Will such scandals create a mistrust between employer and employee? There has already been much talk in the international arena about fraud in the disability pension system, and employers have always had an inherent fear about supporting an individual that claims to have a disability, but is not actually disabled. Could a visible scandal like this one further increase the mistrust and resistance to engaging individuals with disabilities in the workplace? Read more about the LIRR disability scandal below…
More L.I.R.R. Retirees Charged in Disability Fraud
By RUSS BUETTNER – The New York Times
May 22, 2012
Ten retirees from the Long Island Rail Road were charged on Tuesday with filing fraudulent disability claims to increase their pension payouts in what prosecutors called a “massive fraud scheme.”
Their arrests bring to 21 the number of people charged, including two physicians accused of giving false diagnoses of disabilities, in a plot that prosecutors have said could have led to more than $1 billion in excessive federal disability pension payouts.
With the arrest count growing, the authorities also announced on Tuesday an amnesty program for retirees who acknowledge having made false statements to win disability payments. The program does not require those who come forward by July 6 to return disability money they have already received.
“The L.I.R.R. is a commuter railroad, not a gravy train,” said Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The federal investigation followed a series of articles by The New York Times in 2008 that revealed that nearly every one of the railroad’s retirees had applied for and received a federal disability pension. Prosecutors have said many of those who claimed they were too disabled to work nonetheless had robust hobbies, including biking, golf and tennis.
Ten Charged in Long Island Rail Road Pension Fraud
By Bob Van Voris on May 22, 2012
Ten Long Island Rail Road retirees were charged in a probe of pension fraud as the U.S. announced a program offering immunity to hundreds of other former workers at the suburban New York railway if they admit lying on disability applications and disclaim future benefits.
The indictment unsealed today in Manhattan brings to 21 the number of people charged in the case. In October, U.S. prosecutors charged 11, including two doctors and a former union president, with taking part in a scheme in which retired LIRR workers falsely claim disability benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board.
“The LIRR is a commuter railroad, not a gravy train,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said in a statement. “Today we have criminally charged 10 more LIRR workers who planned padded retirements built on lies and greed.”
U.S. Attorney: 10 More Charged In Long Island Rail Road Disability Fraud Scheme – Feds Offer ‘Fess Up’ Deal To Those Out There Who May Still Be Bilking System
May 22, 2012 7:25 PM
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Ten more Long Island Rail Road retirees were busted Tuesday for disability pension fraud, and the U.S. Attorney is now telling others who might be scamming the system it’s time to make a deal — do it our way or you will pay.
The retirees are accused of faking injuries to qualify for extra disability pension pay. Tuesday arrests came following 11 last October, including doctors who allegedly helped retirees game the system and former LIRR workers who claimed crippling injuries, but were caught golfing, shoveling snow, and going on a 400-mile bike ride, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.
Amnesty program offered for NY rail workers who faked disabilities; 10 more arrested in probe
By Associated Press, Published: May 22
NEW YORK — Railroad retirees who faked disability claims in order to get more lucrative pensions from the country’s second-largest commuter rail system would avoid prosecution and be able to keep some benefits if they admit wrongdoing, federal officials said Tuesday.
In announcing the arrest of an additional 10 people in the months-long probe, federal officials also said they are offering an amnesty program for others to come forward. In exchange for admitting they made false or misleading statements to get more money from disability claims, former Long Island Rail Road workers would be able to keep their pension benefits and won’t be prosecuted.
More Arrests in LIRR Disability Crackdown.
By Dan Strumpf and Chad Bray
May 22, 2012, 10:15 AM ET.
UPDATED AT 5 P.M. | Long Island Rail Road retirees can avoid prosecution by coming forward and admitting their participation in an alleged scheme to defraud a federal railroad retirement program, authorities announced Tuesday.
The offer followed a new wave of arrests by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with 10 more retirees taken into custody Tuesday for allegedly filing fraudulent benefit claims.
The nonprosecution offer is the latest twist in an investigation into hundreds of LIRR employees believed by prosecutors to have made phony claims for disability payments, in addition to legitimate pensions paid out when they retired as early as age 50. In some cases, the combined pension and disability payments added up to the salaries the retirees had received while they were working, prosecutors said.