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Financial Fraud Law

FBI Warns LIRR Disability Scammers: ‘We’ll Be Contacting You’

 The federal government is continuing its investigation into an alleged billion dollar disability fraud scheme that prosecutors say involved physicians and former employees of the Long Island Railroad, the nation’s largest commuter rail system.   

And, if you listen to FBI Special Agent Diego Rodriguez, that means that retired employees who are scamming the system may have reason to worry. Here’s some of what Rodriguez says:
The complaint summarizes a bold and deceptive scheme involving a massive fraud against the Railroad Retirement Board’s occupational disability program. One that played out for more than 10 years, culminated in the payout of over $300 million in fraudulently obtained annuity payments, and served as a game where everyone who played was a winner.
Although only a handful of Long Island Railroad retirees are named in [the] complaint, it is estimated that this scheme involved a significant number of railroad retirees who sought compensation beyond retirement for a disability that did not exist.
In 2007 alone, over 84 percent of Long Island Railroad retirees sought and received RRB disability. And throughout the period of time detailed in this complaint, almost all employees who filed disability applications saw one of three disability doctors.
Applications were filed by employees who suddenly claimed they were plagued by a physical disability that prohibited them from performing certain tasks. They paid a hefty stipend to doctors on board with the plan in return for a fraudulent medical assessment, after which they hired facilitators who were “in the know” and assisted in furtherance of the plan.
When all was said and done, the retirees would receive their recurring payment from the RRB occupational disability program in addition to their pension, providing them with an income level close to their pre-retirement salary.
This became a culture of sorts among the LIRR workers, who took to gathering in doctor’s waiting rooms bragging to each about their disabilities while simultaneously talking about their golf game.
These same employees—whose alleged injuries prevented them from performing even the most normal day-to-day tasks, such as walking or standing—turned to “less strenuous” activities, including playing tennis, shoveling snow, landscaping and, in one case, completing a 400-mile bicycle tour.
The doctors, facilitators, and employees who went along for the ride were brazen in thought, word, and deed—but [the complaint] signals the last stop on this money train.
As is detailed in the complaint, while six LIRR retirees are charged in the scheme, untold numbers of others are known to have fraudulently applied for and obtained disability benefits. This seems like an appropriate time to mention that this investigation is ongoing.
The FBI is in the information business. Who has better information about this scheme—first-hand information—than those who perpetrated it? If you have this kind of first-hand information, we look forward to hearing from you. We’re not hard to find. You can call the FBI at 212-384-1000.
For those who choose not to contact us, there’s a good chance we’ll be contacting you.