Eleven former long island railroad workers have been arrested and charged for their role in an enormous fraud scheme. Retired LIRR employees were found fraudulently claiming to have disabling injuries, some collecting more than $100,000 in pension funds and spending their winnings on the golf courses and tennis courts of long island. The defendants were taken into custody from their homes this past week, comprised of former railroad employees, a federal pension agency employee and doctors who helped prepare false medical assessments of the retirees.
Defendant Gregory Noone, 62, of East Islip, NY, collects $105,000 each year in pension money and disability payments resulting from his work on the railroad. While claiming issues such as severe pain when gripping objects, bending or crouching, Noone can be found gripping a tennis racket several times a week as well as a golf club he used a total of 140 days out of the 9-month golf season last year. Another defendant, Steven Gagliano, 55, of North Babylon, NY, collects roughly $75,000 in annual payments for what he claimed was severe and disabling back pain. Back pain that didn’t seem to cramp his 400-mile bike tour around New York State. The doctors involved, together, account for 86% of the railroad’s disability applications. Receiving roughly $1,000 for each false assessment in addition to the millions they each received in health insurance payments for the unnecessary medical treatments and charges in preparing the false medical records for their clients. The payouts for these fraudulent reports could amount to more than $1 billion if fully disbursed.
The Federal investigation sprung from a series of 2008 New York Times articles revealing the fraudulent scheme. The article reported that nearly every single career employee of the railroad was receiving disability payments for their service in what would seem like the most crippling job in the world. Now, if convicted, the defendants each face up to 20 years in prison for their crimes.