Amnesty for LIRR Workers Who Faked Disabilities

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Long Island Railroad (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Long Island Rail Road workers who faked disabilities to get more money would avoid prosecution and be able to keep their pensions if they admit wrongdoing under a deal with the federal government.

In announcing the arrest of 10 retirees Tuesday, federal officials also said they are offering an amnesty program for others to come forward.

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.

The round-up came five months after an initial batch of 11 arrests targeted railroad retirees who had been granted early retirement because of supposed on-the-job injuries. Authorities said they were later spotted later playing golf and tennis, working out, and even riding in a 400-mile bike race.

As WNYC reported last year:

The complaint filed in Manhattan court claims former LIRR workers filed for disability before retirement so they would receive extra compensation after retirement. The resulting sum, according to prosecutors, was often more than these workers made while employed.
Those charged include two orthopedists a former union official and two office managers.

Three doctors are alleged to be involved in the scheme, one has recently died, and all are said to have reaped millions in under the table hand outs from patients and insurance companies.

Eleven people were charged with conspiracy in October, including two orthopedists and a former union official.

The LIRR's president has said the Railroad Retirement Board acted as a rubber stamp without consulting the railroad. The LIRR has cooperated with authorities.


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Comments [8]

Tom from Long Island

No amnesty, period. There needs to be consequences for actions like this. Prosecute the perps to the full extent of the law. If that includes losing their benefits so be it. It was their choice.

May. 22 2012 09:10 PM
Lightnin' Rod from Harlem, U.S.A.

How many of these creeps spew phony Christian/Republican/Rah Rah!/America/Patriotism garbage and then STEAL from their fellow Americans, while they complain about BIG GOVERNMENT. I hope they all really do get sick and die real soon. Parasitic scumbags. That's the American way: Be a lazy, fat pig and let others shoulder the burden of taking care of you.

May. 22 2012 06:19 PM
Robert from Long Island, NY

I'd like to know which members of the judicial and law enforcement agencies involved came up with, and approved this scheme (i.e. the government's response to criminality). What they are telling society is that they cannot do their jobs, that they depend upon the crooks turning themselves in (ha!), and if they do so (like good little boys and girls) they can keep their ill-gotten gains (taxpayer monies, mind you!), and all will be forgiven. Those responsible for this amnesty nonsense are, themselves, criminals, and they should lose their jobs, or even be prosecuted for their failure to safeguard the public treasury, which is ultimately what they are charged with doing. They are as guilty as those who committed this fraud; the crooked LIRR employees, and the doctors who aided and abetted them, were driven by greed, but those in government who allowed this to happen, and even worse, are willing to turn a blind eye to it and even rewrd the criminals, as I see it, have committed even the greater moral fraud on the public. Let them all rest in peace - in adjoining prison cells.

May. 22 2012 05:53 PM
David from Nassu county

For many years I wondered why no politician seemed to pick a sure fire issue of changing pension reform to deny pensions for those who misused their office, but then the cynic knows that they wouldn't want to burn their own fingers.

For helping to embezzle $11 million, Frank Tassone, the former superintendent of the Roslyn school district gets $14,457.92 per month in prison (source Newsday. Would he have acted differently if he knew that he wouldn't have a yearly life time pension of $173,495? I don't know.

I do know that the money being spent on Tassone and all the others who've defrauded the system could be better spent. The article doesn't say whether those who cheated had to reimburse the state or the amount they obtained by fraud.

It is incidents like this that gives ammunition to those who want to destroy collective bargaining. Given the pervasiveness of the fraud of the Long Island Rail Road retirees those of us who face the future withou pensions, it is easy to have little sympathy to those who get a guaranteed income into their retirement.

May. 22 2012 05:02 PM
SKV from NYC

So they get to keep tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars that they got fraudulently, with NO punishment whatsoever?

Gee, what a deterrent.

May. 22 2012 04:14 PM

There are no New York City workers pulling the same scam?

May. 22 2012 02:24 PM
Christina from New Jersey

Yes, let them keep their pensions, but let the punishment fit the crime: keep them confined to hospital beds for the rest of their lives.

May. 22 2012 02:11 PM

LOCK THEM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEYS! And take their pensions.

Isn't that what white suburbanites are supposed to say about say about brazen, ruthless sociopaths and criminals? Let's hope the "law and order" attitude applies as much to corruption on Long Island as elsewhere.

May. 22 2012 10:53 AM

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