Ten Arrested in $1 Billion Long Island Rail Road ‘Disability Mill’ Scam

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Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A New York Times exposé in 2008 revealed that retirees who worked on the Long Island Rail Road not only played golf all the time for free, but they received disability pensions, too, at a rate that dwarfed workers on any other railroad. It turns out there were a few doctors running what essentially amounted to "disability mills," and today ten people were arrested in a fraud scheme thought to have cost the government around $1 billion. The fake disability claims added an average of $36,000 to retirees' pensions, and the lies were egregious:

One of the defendants, who receives more than $100,000 in pension and disability payments each year, plays tennis several times a week and played golf more than 100 times in less than a year despite supposedly suffering severe pain when gripping objects with his hands, bending or crouching, the person said.

Another defendant, an office worker for the railroad, who also collects more than $100,000 a year in pension and disability payments and complained of significant neck, shoulder, hand and leg pain when standing for more than five minutes, was seen under surveillance shoveling heavy snow and walking with a stroller for a long period of time, the person said.

And a third person, who receives more than $75,000 in payments annually and claimed to be suffering from severe and disabling back pain, went on a 400-mile bike tour around New York State, the people said.

Or maybe money just fixes everything.

10 Arrested in $1 Billion L.I.R.R. Disability Scheme [NYT]
FBI Makes Corruption Arrests in LIRR Pension Scandal [NBC NY]