NEW YORK (AP/WJLA) - A law enforcement official says more than 100 current and former city workers, including dozens of police officers and firefighters, are being charged with faking psychiatric problems in order to get federal disability benefits.
And bragging on social media may have come back to haunt up the defendants, as these former police officers and firefighters have displayed that they are in good health - riding jet skis, motorcycles, playing golf, and deep-sea fishing. Yet all of them were receiving disability checks.
Many said they could no longer do just about anything due to mental trauma suffered during 9/11. And there are four men, ages 59 to 89, who are being accused of organizing the scheme.
Prosecutors say a long list of defendants and claims added up fast - in all, cashing $21.5 million in checks. In the meantime, Congress has been pressing the Social Security Administration to tighten the process and prevent costly fraud cases.
In this indictment, photos of the so-called "unfit" training for marathons or playing softball for the NYPD "Blues" might intensify that push for more oversight - especially due to using 9/11 as the reason for disability.
Prosecutors think the organizers may have run similar schemes for 26 years, involving as many as 1,000 people and $400 million in wrongly claimed money.
Arrests in the sweeping case began early Tuesday morning, and arraignments are expected to begin Tuesday.