The term “gravy train” is associated with railroad slang from the 19th century and can be described as experiencing a generous income by participating in a lucrative venture that doesn’t require much effort. Thirty-three retirees, doctors and facilitators hopped on board the Long Island Rail Road (LLRI) “gravy train” in a massive disability scheme to defraud the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board of $1 Billion in retirement and disability benefits. (What a train wreck!) The Long Island Newsday reports that two of four remaining retirees charged recently pleaded guilty to collecting benefits from phony disability claims submitted to LLRI.

The story reports that a former conductor and a dispatcher were the latest to admit their part in the scheme.  The conductor, who continued to work as a funeral director and participate in competitive trap shooting after claiming disability due to a herniated disk and carpal tunnel syndrome, got himself into a bit of hot water at his gun club.  The sharpshooter allegedly threatened a witness, whom he believed had blown the whistle on him, which landed in jail until his sentencing.  Authorities said the former dispatcher enjoyed extensive international travel and golfing, despite severe back pain, which made it difficult to walk. (You can’t miss the irony here.)

The 62-year-old former conductor could face a sentence of 27 to 33 months and will be required to forfeit $307,581 in fraudulent disability benefits.  The 56-year-old former dispatcher faces 21 to 27 months and will have to forfeit $211,700.

Both fraudsters admitted that they knew what they were doing was wrong, so we can assume that somewhere along the ride, their morals got derailed.  Instead of getting a first class ticket to “Easy Street,” these fraudsters got a one way ticket to jail.  

  1. From what I have read about this case, the disability applicants could simply bring in a medical report from their “disability mill” doctors and get a disability pension. To prevent this, a pension fund should have a disability review board to scrutinize the applications and look for trends that were present in this case such as the same doctors writing the disability reports using the identical language in each report. That’s a big red flag right there. The fund should also order independent medical exams in questionable, if not all, cases. That’s a key control. Finally, once a disability pension is granted, the fund should conduct “alive and well” investigations periodically to make sure all these guys with the bad backs are not participating in judo competitions, or doing roofing jobs, etc. And, of course, a whistleblower hotline is warranted here, which is the way this fraud was exposed.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>