LIRR Pension Disability Fraud

I don’t think I really need to add much commentary to this story:

“Ten people, including a doctor and a former union president, were arrested early Thursday and charged in a major fraud scheme in which hundreds of Long Island Rail Road workers made false disability pension claims costing a federal agency an estimated $1 billion, according to people briefed on the matter.

The Times articles reported that virtually every career employee of the railroad was applying for and receiving disability payments, giving the Long Island Rail Road a disability rate of three to four times that of the average railroad. The Times found that retired railroad employees who had successfully claimed disability were regularly playing golf at a state-owned course without charge — another perquisite of their disability.

The articles revealed that a web of doctors and facilitators were helping the workers file papers claiming they were disabled.

The authorities estimate that the cost to the Railroad Retirement Board of disability claims by Long Island Rail Road retirees was $1 billion, the people briefed on the case said.

The two doctors charged in the case, and a third one who recently died, were responsible for more than three-quarters of the disability applications filed before 2008, running what amounted to “disability mills,” the people said. They prepared false medical assessments for the retirees to file with the Railroad Retirement Board, the people said.

One of the defendants, who receives more than $100,000 in pension and disability payments each year, plays tennis several times a week and played golf more than 100 times in less than a year despite supposedly suffering severe pain when gripping objects with his hands, bending or crouching, the person said.

Another defendant, an office worker for the railroad, 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 person said.”



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