106 arrests of New York police officers, firefighters, correctional officers and their lawyers and doctors were made after a two-year investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and federal investigators uncovered a massive disability fraud related to the 9/11attack on the World Trade Center.
The accused cops and firefighters retired on disability, claiming they suffered from debilitating stress and psychiatric disorders after working among the carnage of the World Trade Center rubble. The investigation determined that those arrested were not stressed out as claimed and those claiming to suffer psychiatric problems were feigning their symptoms, all with the connivance of lawyers and doctors.
Four of those arrested were accused of organizing the disability scam and recruiting the other participants. They are:
__Raymond Lavallee, 83, a Nassau County lawyer and retired FBI agent.
__John Minerva, 61, a former NYPD detective who had worked in the Detectives Endowment Association, giving him knowledge of the pension system.
__Joseph Esposito, 64, a retired NYPD officer who is accused ofrecruiting other retired officers.
__Thomas Hale, 89, aNassau County, pension consultant.
All four are accused of running a disability fraud scheme since 1988 and are charged with first- and second-degree grand larceny and attempted second-degree grand larceny. Most of those arrested are retired NYPD, FDNY and Correction officers that were charged with second-degree grand larceny and second-degree attempted grand larceny. 72 of those arrested are former NYPD cops. Of the 20 scammers arrested out of state, most had retired to Florida.
The 9/11 disability fraud has cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in Social Security Disability Insurance payments. The retied scammers were collecting between $30,000 and $50, 000 a year for bogus PTSD, anxiety and depression claims. Many were caught working in a second career in violation of laws regulating disability benefits.
The investigation is ongoing and could lead to the arrests of hundreds more.