The disability fraud case involving more than 100 retired New York City police, firefighters and other employees expanded Tuesday with prosecutors charging an additional 28 former city workers
Of the 28 additional suspects charged, 16 were retired police officers, four former firefighters, and a retired New York City Department of Corrections employee, a source close to the investigation told Reuters
In the previous mass arrest, which occurred in early January, New York prosecutors charged some 72 police officers, eight firefighters, five correction officers and one Nassau County Police Department officer with fraud.
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"Last month's indictment was the first step in ending a massive fraud against American taxpayers," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement posted on his office's website
"Today, dozens of additional defendants have been charged with fabricating psychiatric conditions in order to fraudulently obtain Social Security disability insurance, a critically important social safety net reserved for those truly in need," Vance continued. "These defendants are accused of gaming the system by lying about their lifestyle, including their ability to work, drive, handle money, shop and socialize, in order to obtain benefits to which they were not entitled. Their lies were repetitive and extensive."
According to Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office is presently working with the U.S. Social Security Administration to bring additional cases.
Many of the former city employees charged in early January were accused of faking conditions
to obtain extra disability pension in their retirement, with some allegedly falsely claiming their conditions began after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"The idea that many of them chose the events of 9/11 to claim as the basis for their disability brings further dishonor to themselves," New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said following the initial arrests.
Over the 26 years in which the alleged scheme took place, the city employees involved collected upwards of $22 million in bogus benefits, according to authorities.
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The fraud was reportedly orchestrated by four individuals, two retired NYPD officers, a former FBI agent, and a Nassau County assistant prosecutor. The four ringleaders allegedly instructed the retirees on how to game the system, telling them what they should say in order to procure payouts as high as $500,000 in some cases.
According to prosecutors, hundreds more people could also find themselves charged at a future date in connection with the scam that potentially involved up to $400 million in total.
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