|Targeted News Service|
According to the Complaint, the Superseding Indictments, the Superseding Informations, and statements made in other public filings and court proceedings:
The LIRR Disability Fraud Scheme
The Railroad Retirement Board ("RRB") is an independent U.S. agency that administers benefit programs, including disability benefits, for the nation's railroad workers and their families. A unique LIRR contract allowed employees to retire at the relatively young age of 50 - the age of eligibility has since changed to 55 - if they had been employed by the LIRR for at least 20 years. Eligible employees are entitled to receive an LIRR pension, which is a portion of the full retirement payment for which they are eligible at 65. In addition, at full retirement age (between age 60 and age 65 depending on years of service), they are eligible to receive an RRB retirement pension. For LIRR workers who retired at 50 with only an LIRR pension, they would receive less than their prior salary and substantially lower pension payments than those to which they would be entitled at full retirement age. However, LIRR employees who retired and claimed disability could receive a disability payment from the RRB on top of their LIRR pension, regardless of age. A retiree's LIRR pension, in combination with RRB disability payments, can be roughly equivalent to the base salary earned during his or her career.
Hundreds of LIRR employees have allegedly exploited the overlap between the LIRR pension and the RRB disability program by pre-planning the date on which they would falsely declare themselves disabled so that it would coincide with their projected retirement date. These false statements, made under penalty of prosecution in disability applications, allowed LIRR employees to retire as early as age 50 with an LIRR pension, supplemented by the fraudulently obtained RRB disability annuity. From 1995 through 2011, more than 75% of LIRR employees stopped working and began receiving RRB disability benefits, whereas during this same period, only 25% of retiring Metro-North employees stopped working and began receiving RRB disability benefits. During the period 2004 through 2008, only three doctors were responsible for approximately 86% of the disability claims submitted by LIRR retirees. Of these three doctors, one is deceased; one, Dr.
ALEVAS, a LIRR retiree who received disability benefits, made materially false statements about his ability to perform certain daily activities in his disability application submitted to the RRB.
ALEVAS, 54, of
Thirty-three people have been charged in connection with the LIRR disability fraud scheme; 26 have pled guilty and three have been convicted following trial. Of the 26 defendants who have pled guilty, four have been sentenced: Dr.
The case is being handled by the Office's Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys
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