Scores of retired New York City police, fire and corrections officers were arrested today in a crackdown on disability fraud stemming from the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The fraud cost taxpayers millions of dollars, prosecutors claim.
The Manhattan district attorney's office accuses the retired workers, along with their lawyers and doctors, of faking work-related stress, including feigned psychiatric disorders related to 9/11.
Among those busted today was John Minerva, the disability consultant for the Detectives Endowment Association, officials said.
Today's arrests cap a two year investigation, aided by federal investigators, the city's Department of Investigation and the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau.
The alleged fraud cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in improper Social Security benefits.
None of the accused actually suffered from debilitating stress, officials claim. Many were caught working after retirement, a violation of disability benefits.
And some of the retired officers retained their gun permits. Retired officers cannot possess guns if they are being treated for stress.
The 9/11 attacks took a heavy toll on the city's cops, called "New York's Finest," and firefighters, dubbed "New York's Bravest." The casualty count from the terror attacks included 23 police officers and 343 firefighters.
Most of the arrests in the fraud sweep took place in the city, with others being busted in Florida and elsewhere in New York State.
It was the second 9/11 scam to be revealed this week. On Monday, two New Jersey men pleaded guilty to raising and keeping $50,000 for a Sept. 11 charity that was supposed to help families who lost loved one in the catastrophe.
Thomas Scalgione and Mark Niemczyk never gave any of the more than $50,000 in proceeds to the victims' families or to charities as promised, they told the court.
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