The FBI charged 11 people yesterday in connection with a massive fraud scheme that saw hundreds of Long Island Rail Road workers allegedly fake disabling injuries so that they could retire early and collect their pensions. Among those arrested are two doctors who together approved cases handing $121 million to workers who allegedly made up or exaggerated their ills—and unless the government can stop the disbursements, those cases could wind up costing a federal pension agency $1 billion, the New York Times reports.
“Employees, in many cases, after claiming to be too disabled to stand, sit, walk, or climb steps, retired to lives of regular golf, tennis, biking, and aerobics,” US Attorney Preet Bharara said. Indeed, one of the defendants collects $105,000 in pension and disability a year, yet played golf 140 times during one nine-month period, according to the complaint. The indictments spring from a series of Times articles noting that almost all career LIRR employees apply for and receive disability pay.