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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Federal Lawyer-Prosecutors Offer Amnesty

Feds offer amnesty to hundreds of LIRR pension disability scammers
The New York Daily News by Robert Gearty - May 22, 2012
Amnesty offer was sent to more than 1,500 Long Island Rail Road workers who retired early. If they admit making a fraudulent claim by July 6, they won't have to repay their ill-gotten gains, but if they wait until Aug. 10, they would have to return 50% of the money.

Hundreds of LIRR retirees who scammed lucrative disability pensions in a massive $1 billion ripoff can avoid prosecution — and paying back their ill-gotten gains — if they admit guilt under an innovative amnesty program, the feds said Tuesday. The amnesty offer was mailed out to more than 1,500 LIRR workers who were able to double-dip on their pensions after retiring early and submitting a bogus disability claim that was rubber-stamped by the federal Railroad Retirement Board. The offer came as federal prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed a new indictment charging 10 more LIRR retirees with boosting their regular pensions with fraudulent disability benefits. The LIRR is a commuter railroad, not a gravy train,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in announcing the new arrests and the amnesty offer. He said those who come clean and forfeit future disability payments won’t be prosecuted. Under the program, those who cut a deal by July 6 won’t have to return any past disability benefits while those who wait until Aug. 10 will have to return 50%. In October there were 12 arrests — two doctors, the office manager of one of the doctors, two “facilitators” connecting retiring workers to the physicians and seven LIRR retirees. At the time, the FBI encouraged other fraudulent disability pensioners to come forward, but apparently got few takers. FBI New York Director Janice Fedarcyk reiterated Tuesday that it would be better for ex-workers who defrauded the government not to wait. “If you are culpable in this fraud, the voluntary disclosure program is certainly a better choice than crossing your fingers and hoping we won’t find you,” she said. LIRR workers can retire as early as 50 but can’t collect a supplementary pension from the railroad board until age 65 — unless they are disabled. Then they can start collecting right away. Fraudsters who come forward would still be able to keep their regular pensions, prosecutors say. Those busted Tuesday pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Federal Court and were released on $100,000 bond, except for Frank Plaia, 55, of Long Island, who was released on his own recognizance. Prosecutors said Plaia’s disability claim said he was so crippled he could not dress, bathe, do chores or write without difficulty. Yet, they said, he still shoveled snow and operated a snow blower. One of those arrested last year was spotted riding in a 400-mile bike race even though he retired from the LIRR with a spinal


Anonymous said...

This is a GREAT step in the right direction of starting to clean up the HUGE corruptive mess our society is currently drowning in.

Anonymous said...

Instead of keeping their pensions when they turn 65, the State can deduct the treble damages for all cash taken before 65 out of the post 65 pension payments. Maybe, they can all hang out in Penn Station with cups describing their "plight" and people can either contribute or spit.

Anonymous said...

Let's clear up some facts. None of these men retired "early" as the story misinforms. They retired with a pension at age 50 or later, as permitted by the LIRR. This is their full retirement age.

Railroaders have the option of applying for an "Occupational Disability" anytime before age 60 or 65 which is granted if they have an ailment from a 500-page list.

Every applicant is examined by a federal doctor and their case reviewed by a federal Board of Doctors before their payments are approved.

The money used for Railroad Retirement is funded by rail employees (who aren't in Social Security) and railroads. No tax money is used.

Now you have the facts. Next they will be coming for your pension, your Social Security and your savings account.

Anonymous said...

@8:07 Let's talk facts. More than half of last year's retirees retired with disabilities. On that 500 page list is the aliment, "crooked and greedy" available so they can honestly apply? Can their NY attorney check a box,"attorney up-to-date on kickbacks and crony approved?" "

Anonymous said...

Nice! Crime Pays!!! The dope that came up with this one should be have his law license pulled!!!

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