In the wake of 9/11, some retired New York City police and firefighters filed fraudulent disability claims. Social Security Inspector General Patrick O’Carrol told a House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security about a lucrative Social Security scheme masterminded by four Long Island, NY, men.
Executed search warrants on these four men turned up large amounts of cash in their homes and safe deposit boxes, with one box holding $650,000 in cash, and another $42,000 in cash, 28 gold coins and five silver platinum bars.
The four men in question include an attorney who registered as a claimant representative, a disability consultant, and two New York City Police Department retirees.
According to Social Security officials, the scheme paid out over $23 million dollars to more than 102 claimants, mostly retired members of the New York City police and fire departments. Allegedly, these applicants were coached before visiting psychiatrists or psychologists on how to fake symptoms of anxiety and depression. If their application dated back to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the applicants were also told to say that they were afraid of planes and large buildings. Many of these disability claimants had posted videos and photos on social media sites of themselves doing activities such as martial arts and motorcycle riding. Some are accused of taking more than $400,000 in fraudulent disability claims.
Many lawmakers think that this fraud scandal shows that the Social Security Administration is failing to protect taxpayer dollars. The Subcommittee wants to review the agency’s manpower managements and have asked acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin to report within 30 days on what changes are being made in order to reduce disability fraud.
With none of the people involved in the scheme having been Social Security employees, Democratic lawmakers are making sure that the fire is aimed at the bad guys.
Kenneth G. Marks has been practicing personal injury law since he was admitted to the California Bar in 1981. www.KmarksLaw.com