Amnesty for LIRR Workers Who Faked Disabilities

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(photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

(by the Associated Press/WNYC Newsroom) 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.