Today, four Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employees plead guilty to participating in an alleged massive disability fraud scheme. Former workers James Resier, Philip Pulsonetti, Michael Stavola, and Christopher Parlante claimed to be disabled so that they could receive benefits to which they were not entitled.
The story broke last year when investigators found that 11 employees claiming they were unable to stand, walk, or sit were actually playing golf, tennis, and riding bikes. By doing so, these workers were able to collect a Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) disability pension that overlapped with their LIRR pension. They were arrested and charged with fraudulently claiming a disability pension.
Allegedly, hundreds of LIRR employees have exploited this overlap between their normal pension and the RRB disability program. Investigations showed that from 2004 through 2008, 61 percent of LIRR employees who began receiving RRB disability benefits were between the ages of 50 and 55. When compared to their sister agency, Metro-North had only 7 percent of employees receive disability benefits at the same age range.
Presently, 32 people have now been charged in connection with the LIRR disability fraud scheme. The charges against the remaining defendants are allegations and the defendants are all presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Details regarding the pleas of James Resier, Philip Pulsonetti, Michael Stavola, and Christopher Parlante, can be found on the FBI’s website.