10 FDNY EMS workers, 3 NYPD traffic agents surrender in health insurance scam
December 13, 2016
As published by the NY Daily News on December 13, 2016.
Ten active and retired EMS workers and three NYPD traffic enforcement agents surrendered to authorities early Tuesday, the first in a wave of disability fraud busts orchestrated by city and state law enforcement, the Daily News has learned.
Seven of the accused — six men and one woman — surrendered at the 112th Precinct stationhouse, where they were patted down in the doorway, then handcuffed and lead inside.
“This is a shame,” said a man who accompanied a suspect he called his best friend. “It’s unbelievable.”
They were nabbed as part of a wide-ranging health insurance scam that focused on double-dipping EMS workers in the Fire Department, sources said.
More arrests are expected to follow and could include firefighters, sources told The News.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office and the city’s Department of Investigation are leading the probe. Authorities arranged for the implicated EMS workers to surrender themselves voluntarily on Tuesday morning.
The accused include 10 EMS supervisors, paramedics and emergency medical technicians — plus three traffic enforcement agents employed by the NYPD, according to DOI Commissioner Mark Peters.
They’re suspected of filing false claims with AFLAC health insurance company, which gives payouts to employees who have to leave work because of a short-term disability.
But once the claims were processed, the employees returned to their jobs — and collected their regular paychecks in addition to the insurance payouts, sources said.
Some of those who will be tapped in subsequent arrests claimed disability but held down second jobs at outside companies, sources said.
The EMS officers were implicated because some of them signed off on the paperwork that allowed the disability scam to go unnoticed, sources said.
The ploy first came to light when the insurance company called FDNY to verify a worker’s information — only to hear the employee was on duty that day.
City and state officials have been cracking down on all kinds of disability fraud since arresting roughly 1,000 people in 2014 — including 80 retired city cops and firefighters — for filing false claims.
Many of those arrested — charged with stealing as much as $40 million from the federal government — claimed the 9/11 terror attacks were responsible for their bogus ailments.