Train Robbery & the Over-the-Hill Gang: Long Island Rail Road Retirees, Healthcare & Mail Fraud, Higher Ticket Prices?
A new lyric to an old familiar tune: “I’ve been frauding on the railroad all the live long day”. . . . If not for at least the past 4 years.
Federal criminal activity – that’s what F.B.I. agents and investigators from the office of the inspector general of the federal Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) are calling it. They recently arrested 10 retired Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employees, bringing the total number now to 32. And potentially hundreds more of LIRR retirees may have participated in the fraud scheme.
In a systematic scheme of abuse that potentially could have cost the RRB upwards of $1 billion – if present and future pension disability payments had been made – the charges included alleged mail fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, prosecutors have announced.
LIRR pensioners allegedly filed false occupational disability claims. It is also alleged they were aided by “facilitators” (liaisons) and doctors who would fraudulently declare such disabilities to be true. These disability pensions were being collected in addition to regular railroad pensions.
Prosecutors have called this fraud scheme huge – maybe the tip of an iceberg first made public with a series of detailed The New York Times articles in 2008. U.S. attorney Preet Bharara has said: “There is no deadline for concluding our investigation.”
And what percentage of the daily LIRR ticket would this abuse have been? No wonder fares have gone up.