More than 100 retired New York police and firefighters were indicted in a 9/11 scam. The defendants are accused filing fraudulent Social Security disability claims following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The individuals received millions of dollars as they claimed they were no longer able to work.
Attorney Raymond Lavallee, disability consultant Thomas Hale, and union official John Minerva, were also included in the indictments. The three men reportedly encouraged numerous New York police and firefighters to claim they suffered from post traumatic stress disorder following their service on September 11, 2001.
The individuals were reportedly coached on how to behave and what to say during medical evaluations. Although Hale, Lavallee, and Minerva, coached hundreds of disability applicants, many were denied benefits.
As reported by CNN, the 102 defendants who were approved received an average of $50,000 per year. They were each charged with second degree grand larceny and attempted grand larceny.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said the scam is a disgrace:
“For years, federal taxpayers have unwittingly financed the lifestyles of the defendants charged today… Many participants cynically manufactured claims of mental illness as a result of September 11th, dishonoring the first responders who did serve their city at the expense of their own health and safety.”
Although Vance initiated the investigation, the indictments were a joint effort between the US Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, and the New York Police Department Internal Affairs.
Throughout the investigation, defendants were observed participating in work and activities, which they previously claimed they were unable to do. ABC News reports that numerous photographs and videos are included in the evidence against the defendants.
Social Security disability benefits are provided for those who are unable to work due to legitimate disabilities. Unfortunately, individuals continue to file fraudulent claims.
The retired New York police and firefighters included in the indictment are facing fines, court costs, and possible jail time.
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