Social Media Posts Bust NY Cops and Firefighters in Huge Disability Fraud Racket

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

social-media-bustAnyone who pays much attention to the news in the last few years has noticed how social media activity can sometimes lead to big trouble – both personal and professional.

In New York this week, we see the latest example, and brother, it is a big one.

Apparently, over 100 retired New York City police officers and firefighters told government doctors that they were too mentally scarred from their jobs in the field to continue to work. They were coached by others to fail memory tests, to fake panic attacks, and if they worked on 9/11/01, to talk about how they were afraid of airplanes and going into large buildings.

These former city workers acted like they were emotionally traumatized, and the city government believed them. More than 100 of them received full disability payments and no longer had to work.

But then, some of the ex-cops and firefighters started posting on Facebook about what they were doing with their free time. Some posted images of them fishing, riding motorcycles, driving water scooters, playing basketball, and having a good old time.

The online images, along with recorded phone calls and the testimony of other officers, were very strong evidence of the biggest fraud ever done against the Social Security disability program.

According to an indictment that was unsealed this week, 106 people have been charged with Social Security disability fraud. Four men were charged with running the operation, and were accused of getting kickbacks from each disability applicant.

Many police officers and some firefighters from New York blamed the 9/11 attacks for anxiety, depression and other mental issues. But some of the defendants posted pictures on Facebook, and the indictment included this evidence. Some posted pictures of them fishing in Costa Rica, and another showed one of them riding their motorcycle and having a great old time.

One of the recorded phone conversations recorded one of the ringleaders of the scam telling an applicant to misspell words and to not do simple arithmetic right, and to say that she left a TV on because she needed to hear a voice in the house. This woman also was advised to fake panic attacks.

We do not yet know what the outcome of this case will be, but it’s another sad case of people doing something wrong and then bragging about it on Facebook and other social media. Hopefully, somebody out there is going to learn their lesson and stop doing wrong. Or at least not posting images online of the wrong doing for the world to see.

Social media can be great for many things, but man can it lead to trouble, too.


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