LIRR workers doing the perp walk.
A crook will pay back the hundreds of thousands of dollars he stole from taxpayers over the next 892 years. Fabulous!
The Federal Railroad Pension system is rife with “particularly serious or flagrant problems” according to a federal watchdog. Millions are being stolen in fraudulent disability claims alone. The feds in the agency involved don’t want anything done about it.
On Long Island, where the fraud is rampant, mere handfuls of cases have been investigated with 33 resulting in convictions. One convicted crook was even commended by the federal judge because he will pay it off in the next 982 years.
They are defrauding the Railroad pension fund by claiming to be disabled.
Thirty-three doctors, consultants and retirees have so far been convicted of defrauding the Long Island Rail Road Pension fund by making false disability claims.
Not only is the federal agency involved refusing to tighten up the vulnerabilities, a federal judge praised the last crook sentenced for paying back $25 a month of the nearly $300 thousand he stole.
Manhattan US District Judge Kimba Wood told Christopher Parlante, the thief who premeditated the theft of $294,717 and will take 982 years to pay it back, that he was to be commended. Wood said: “I believe you have provided an important public service. I want to commend you. Good luck.”
The service Parlante provided was to turn on other scam artists after he got caught. He did it in exchange for no jail time and basically no fine.
Parlante retired in 2004 and claimed disability for knee problems, chronic neck, back and hand pain.
He worked hundreds of hours of overtime to boost his pension in the months before retiring. After going out on disability, he performed activities – among others – such as shoveling snow, working out, and using weights.
He got off with only paying $25 a month because he’s run up his debts and owes $400 a month for his childrens’ student loans. And, get this, there is sympathy for him because his pension was lowered. It has been reduced 15% which is the amount for which he was defrauding the federal taxpayers.
He could always get a job like the rest of us who aren’t crooks, but, no, he’s going to skate.
There is a real possibility that there is some accounting trick going on here. Do you want to bet that the bean counters get paid by the amount of money they recoup and that they will get credited with his paying back the entire $294 thousand even though he’d need 982 years to do it?
Of those convicted, only 10 have gone to jail. Others who are making restitution have to pay only 10% of their monthly income per month.
It gets better.
This fraud has been going on in Long Island for decades. Our former Suffolk County Legislator Steve Levy tried to put a stop to it and found that 97% of the people working for the Long Island Rail Road went out on disability. Did you know that punching tickets is dangerous?
The Federal Pension watchdog issued a scathing report proving that defrauding this pension plan was very easy and the vulnerabilities needed to be closed up.
In a February 2014 letter, U.S. Railroad Retirement Board chairman Michael Schwartz rejected calls for federal reforms as costly and unwarranted.
The feds reject calls to tighten up the system!!!
Board Inspector General Martin Dickman, blasted the three-member LIRR Pension board for its “continued inability to effectuate substantial and meaningful change” to the beleaguered occupational disability system.
Dickman wrote in a Feb. 10 letter that even after the board attempted to increase oversight for LIRR disability applicants the rate of LIRR applicants being approved for occupational disability benefits “remains essentially unchanged” at nearly 96 percent.
Dickman noted that even some retirees who had their disability annuities revoked after being indicted on fraud charges, and who later pleaded guilty, reapplied for the benefits and were approved.
Dickman’s report called for further reforms of the federal system, which includes hiring a medical doctor to oversee the system and replacing disability examiners with licensed medical staff.
Dickman’s report recommended that, in lieu of substantial reforms to the occupational disability program, Congress should eliminate it altogether or at least limit recipients to one year of benefits.
Schwartz wants none of that.
If 96% are still going out on disability, the crooks are still defrauding the system and these 33 convictions mean nothing.
Not only has Mr. Parlante and the other gangs of thieves stolen money from the pension system, they’ve cost federal taxpayers a great deal of time and money for the many investigators over the course of three years.
Why do we have government watchdogs if no one listens to them? The only people who deserve to be commended in this are Mr. Dickman and the prosecutors and law enforcement involved in the cases.