NYPD

Dozens of Retired NYC Police, Firefighters Charged with Social Security Disability Fraud

Snitched on via social media

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Credit: Sean MacEntee / Foter.com / CC BY

There's probably some sort of joke or ironic reference to be made about New York City's authoritarian police surveillance culture and breaking news that dozens of city police and firefighters' claims of mental disability have been called into question by images gathered via the Internet and social media.

The New York Times reports this morning that 80 retired New York City police officers and firefighters are being charged with Social Security disability fraud. And they may just be the tip of the iceberg:

Eighty retired New York City police officers and firefighters were charged on Tuesday in one of the largest Social Security disability frauds ever, a sprawling decades-long scheme in which false mental disability claims by as many as 1,000 people cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to court papers.

Scores of those charged in the case essentially stole in plain sight, according to a 205-count indictment and a bail letter, collecting between $30,000 and $50,000 a year based on fabricated claims that they were completely incapacitated by serious psychiatric disorders. Many said that their actions in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were responsible for their psychiatric conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression.

But their Facebook pages and other websites, according to the court papers, tell a starkly different story.

The bail letter includes photographs culled from the Internet that show one riding a jet ski and others working at jobs ranging from helicopter pilot to martial arts instructor. One is shown fishing off the coast of Costa Rica and another sitting astride a motorcycle, while another appeared in a television news story selling cannoli at the Feast of San Gennaro on Mulberry Street in Manhattan.

Read the full story here.

Who will be the first to claim his or her privacy was violated? Will they point out that they weren't doing something suspicious justifying such snooping, like visiting a mosque or being a Muslim?

The New York Times notes that 106 people were charged altogether (so far). Four men have been identified as masterminds:

Those men – the lawyer, Raymond Lavallee; the pension consultant, Thomas Hale; the detectives' union official, John Minerva; and Joseph Esposito, 64, a retired New York police officer who recruited many of the other defendants – were charged with first- and second-degree grand larceny and attempted second-degree grand larceny.

A pension consultant and a union official, quite a two-fer.

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  1. So… no carriage rides, right? Are the NYC po-po keeping their horsies?

    1. Sorry… “equine law enforcement officers”

      1. Whew. I was worried that was going to be a story about the NYPD breeding Sarah Jessica Parkers to ride around.

        1. Because she looks like a horse.

          1. That’s the joke, you see.

  2. …a sprawling decades-long scheme in which false mental disability claims by as many as 1,000 people cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, according to court papers.

    So suddenly there’s no multiplier effect?

    1. Exactly. I don’t see what was wrong here. They were spending money and therefore improving the economy. They’re heroes.

      1. They were improving the economy in spite of obstructionist Rethuglican opposition to social security fraud.

      2. And they got to go home every night.

  3. And of course every single one of them will continue to collect their pensions even if they are convicted and end up collecting it from prison.

  4. The bail letter includes photographs culled from the Internet that show one riding a jet ski and others working at jobs ranging from helicopter pilot to martial arts instructor. One is shown fishing off the coast of Costa Rica and another sitting astride a motorcycle, while another appeared in a television news story selling cannoli at the Feast of San Gennaro on Mulberry Street in Manhattan.

    Would anxiety and/or PTSD actually preclude any of these activities? If they go out on disability due to anxiety, are they to be confined to moping about the house and avoiding public places? Not that I don’t think most of this isn’t a scam, just not sure what the standards should be.

    1. They got disability for being unable to work. If they can work as a pilot, then they aren’t disabled.

      1. Agreed. But “if they can sit astride a motorcycle, then they aren’t disabled” doesn’t work as well.

        1. Depends on what they went on disability for.

        2. “completely incapacitated by serious psychiatric disorders”……… Not sure someone who was “completely incapacitated” could cruise around on their bike.

    2. That is what I was thinking. My dad has PTSD but the job he does now has nothing to do with the military. I think most these guys could have PTSD, but that shouldn’t stop them from getting a different job and trying to enjoy life.

      1. It doesn’t matter whether their “PTSD” prevents them from holding a specific job (like jackbooted goon).

        What matter is whether they are unable to work, period.

        And, clearly, they are not.

        The feds have sicced bounty hunters on hospitals, audit firms who collect a nice percentage of any bills they get reversed. I could support bounty hunters for welfare fraud, as well. Catch a cheat, get, say, 20% of what they were stealing for, call it 5 years.

        Everybody wins!

        1. The military PTSD is a slightly different animal. It is compensation for damage done to an employee by his employer.

          I don’t think social security disability falls into that area, and I might be wrong, but I thought it was for people who are disabled just in general.

          In the case of these cops claiming 9/11 trauma, wouldn’t that be a city of New York issue, if it were in fact true?

          1. I see your point. Instead of SSD it should be covered by the city. I wasn’t defending the fraud so much as stating that they could have PTSD, meaning the doctors were not complicit in the fraud if their diagnosis was correct.

        2. I could support bounty hunters for welfare fraud, as well. Catch a cheat, get, say, 20% of what they were stealing for, call it 5 years.

          We do this all the time, it’s called Qui tam. Catch someone cheating and you get a % of the amount recovered.

        3. Watch out – lawyers get touchy when someone else works on contingency.

      2. Absolutely, go out and enjoy life… just without all the free money.

    3. Yea, that is the rub. When the government takes all your money and tells you it is to take care of you in the future, no matter what, they are lying about all of the stuff that comes after taking your money.

      And please don’t confuse me with anybody who advocates these programs either. We have been hearing story after story of people going onto social security disability after their unemployment ended and there is apparently a market for getting people onto this particular program, since there are plenty of radio ads for getting people onto this program.

      I suspect these folks had plenty of help and encouragement from the bureaucrats in charge of throwing this money around, and now the backlash is coming from the bureaucrats in charge of finding people to prosecute.

      1. To paraphrase that great philosopher:

        Government, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

  5. Another fine outcome brought to you by the cousins Roosevelt.

  6. Is it impossible to have PTSD and ride a jet ski or sit astride a motorcycle?

    1. Awesome rebuttal to an argument no one made! Bravo! You rock!

      1. Not sure a kick to Sidd’s balls was called for since he just made a slightly less articulate version of WTF’s point above.

        1. Sarcasmic is a fucking retard. For a credible ball kicking, check out Fluffy’s beatdown below.

          1. For example, he can’t tell the difference between defending cops and criticizing a sloppy article.

        2. Sidd will come to the defense of the cops in any and all circumstances. He’s worse than Tulpa. Fuck him.

  7. New York’s Finest.

    New York’s mayors offer up issues like soda bans and cruelty free carriage rides to distract people from making issues out of stuff like this.

    Their handwaving is meant to distract us.

    1. It just shows how degraded the Left has become. Big government types of the past like FDR were stupid and often evil. But they were at least competent at running the government even if what they used government for was idiotic.

      Leftists now don’t even have that. Can you imagine DiBlasio tying to build the things that an old time leftist like Laguardia built? It would be a comedy of errors. They can’t even replace the Tappenzee Bridge even though it is totally unsafe, has been known to be unsafe for over a decade now and is one of the most traveled and important bridges in America.

      The old time machine left used to steal a little on the side but also got things done. The new DiBlasio left is so stupid and foul, they only know how to steal.

      1. The old time machine left

        I read this as liberals owning a time machine at first.

        1. They’d go back and try to get FDR to quit smoking so he’d finish his fourth term.

      2. The old machine ran by running business competitors out of business. Witness the marvel of TVA, that came rolling in after a dam system was already built, then built more. They charged what would be predatory power rates by anybody else, ran their competition out of business, then jacked their rates sky high.

        Shift to New York and a different issue, remember the privately owned bus and rail lines? Of course not, since they were socialized a long time ago.

        1. I didn’t say they were good. I said they could at least competently run the government. Modern liberals can’t even do that. All they can do is give away free shit and loot. They can’t even build unneeded and wasteful public works projects anymore.

          1. They can’t even build unneeded and wasteful public works projects anymore.

            That’s because the pyramid pension schemes are maturing. Decades ago the schemes were still young so there was still money left in the budget for things other than paying retirees. Not so much anymore.

        2. I don’t remember the NYC ones, but I remember the Chicago ones. Government tariffs killed them all.

    2. “New York’s mayors offer up issues like soda bans and cruelty free carriage rides to distract people from making issues out of stuff like this.”

      Just for the record, assault weapon bans, gay marriage bans, etc. amount to the same thing nationally.

      It’s mostly handwaving meant to distract our attention away from taxes and spending.

      1. Exactly

        There’s nothing that politicians love more than a kultur-war issue that has nearly zero real impact on the business of politics (gay marriage? ppppt) that allows them to each make *strong statements* about *moral positions* and *protecting our future* or some shit, all meanwhile ensuring the machinery of taxation and palm-greasing is running at full swing.

        Its a bunch of horseshit meant to keep the proles jabbering amongst themselves while the political class and their connected cronies get on with the business of bleeding the system dry.

  8. It’s OK, guys.

    Making false mental disability claims is a mental illness.

    1. “I can’t work because I’m a kleptomaniac.”

  9. $30-50k from Social Security? Does it really pay that much? And here I am working like a sucker.

  10. Agreed. But “if they can sit astride a motorcycle, then they aren’t disabled” doesn’t work as well.

    Yes, it does.

    I’ll go out on that limb and say “Fuck you, PTSD sufferers. Get a fucking job.”

    99% of mental disability claims are total bullshit. Unless you are gibbering at demons that aren’t actually there, fuck you, get a job.

    I don’t care if you’re sad.

    I don’t care if you’re scared.

    Fuck you.

    The standard for disability payments should not be, “Is it easy for me to get the kind of job I used to do?” It should be, “Can I do anything at all, even if that particular job isn’t that common?” The guy on the motorcycle can be a motorcycle seat tester. Maybe his PTSD means he can’t be a cop any more, but he can dig a fucking ditch.

    1. A former friend of mine hit the jackpot and got on permanent disability. Claims he can’t work and can’t go to school either. What’s wrong with him? His wrist pops. That’s right. His wrist pops. He claims it hurts him when it pops, and because of that he can’t work or take classes or anything because he can’t type. So he now sits at home all day drinking beer, smoking pot, and typing inane comments on Yahoo! using that wrist that hurts so much he can’t work or go to school.

    2. Fuck them is right. People came back from World War II having watched their best friend get blown up next to them, liberated concentration camps, spent time in them themselves or having experienced any one of a list of horrors too numerous to list. And they sucked it up and went back to fucking work.

      Sorry, but some fucking flat foot who claiming PTSD doesn’t exactly illicit any sympathy from me. Short of being that guy who pulled his own daughter dead out of a car wreck, I can’t imagine any cop claim for PTSD being anything but a fucking dodge.

  11. I’m just wondering how long it will be until we find out the two cops holding that kid down while unnamed cop number three shot him dead have gone on full disability for PTSD.

    1. In fairness, being in a room holding a guy down and having some murderous lunatic come in and shoot the guy I am holding down, would give me PTSD. But I bet those cops went home and slept like babies.

  12. Would anxiety and/or PTSD actually preclude any of these activities?

    Th3 first question to ask would be what claims they actually made on the application.

    If you say, “I am overcome by hysterical fear every time I go out in a crowd,” and photographic evidence shows you in the middle of a huge mob at a street fair, you’re a fraud and a thief.

  13. “…a sprawling decades-long scheme in which false mental disability claims by as many as 1,000 people cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars…”

    Shocker.

    this sort of ‘fraud’ is near-universal among municipal police/fire/transport employees, public construction, and assorted other departments feeding off the public teat.

    Every 5-10 years, someone remembers its ‘bad’ and some people are thrown under the bus. Scandal! special investigative group formed. Cuts made. Reforms implemented. Public reassured.

    Its sorta like the overtime-padding cops routinely engage in – petty busts at the end of their shift, signing in to a variety of court appearances they aren’t actually present for, etc Taken individually, its fairly petty. Institutionally, its big business. And its been going on in one form or another *forever*.

    They say the LIRR fraud added a bn$ or so to their pension costs. Assume every similar organization around the country is doing precisely the same thing. The mafia is peanuts. Public-pension-abuse is the oldest, biggest-dollar scam in American history. It is legion. And the way it survives is through occasional and selective sacrifice of plebes, and the ‘another isolated event’ media coverage.

    This guy at forbes has a lot of good articles about it from the finance side =

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/…..xes=custom

    many politicians exist mainly to enable this shit

  14. 80 retired New York City police officers and firefighters are being charged

    Out of how many thousands of retired NYC cops and firemen? Not that, as a libertarian, I do not believe that every single American cop and fireman is a crook whose sole ambition is to suck the taxpayer teat dry.

  15. You should look into CHP…the majority of retirees on disability (no taxes on disability bennies vs. retirement bennies).

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