|Targeted News Service|
Manhattan U.S. Attorney
According to the Complaint and the Superseding Information:
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 oath 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 2004 through 2008, 61% of LIRR employees who stopped working and began receiving RRB disability benefits were between the ages of 50 and 55. In contrast, only 7% of employees at Metro-North who stopped working and received disability benefits during the same time period were between the ages of 50 and 55.
In applying for disability benefits, SATIN claimed that he was unable to perform his railroad job and that indoor and outdoor chores were "difficult." However, as SATIN admitted in his plea allocution, no medical condition prevented him from performing his railroad job. Instead, SATIN had pre-planned his false disability to supplement his retirement income. In fact, in the 18 months prior to his retirement, SATIN did not take a single day of sick leave, and in the five months prior to his retirement, he worked approximately 154 overtime hours. In the years after his retirement, SATIN performed landscaping, contracting, and electrical work for pay. SATIN also exploited his false disability to obtain other benefits to which he was not entitled, such as a handicapped parking pass from
In addition to the prison term,
Thirty-two people have been charged in connection with the LIRR disability fraud scheme, 22 of whom have pled guilty. The charges against the remaining defendants are merely allegations and they are all presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Office's Complex Frauds Unit is handling the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys
TNS JF78JF-130309-4238568 EditorFurigay
|Copyright:||(c) 2013 Targeted News Service|