Monday, July 14, 2014

Another Reason Why Social Security Going Broke

From the NY Daily News:
Dozens of retired city cops and firefighters swept up in a massive disability scam are finding it pays to play nice with prosecutors.
That's because the Social Security Administration has agreed — at the urging of the Manhattan District Attorney — to spare the offenders who plead guilty from formidable fines that could soar into the millions per person, sources said.
At least 70 of the 134 defendants indicted so far in the massive probe have entered guilty pleas in Manhattan Supreme Court, many in exchange for no-jail sentences that require them to pay back the benefits they collected over the years.
Investigators say they lied about stress-related conditions to rake in over $20 million in federal benefits in an assembly line-like swindle that could near $400 million in scope.
If they don't take the plea, they are not protected from daunting potential consequences in civil proceedings.
Prosecutors are notifying the ex-NYPD and FDNY defendants that the Social Security Administration can impose “a fine of $5,000 for every mistake” or lie in official paperwork for each month the benefit was issued.
Homes can be seized, and regular Social Security retirement benefits for elderly offenders can be garnished.
The DA's office convinced the agency to refrain from pursuing the hefty retroactive sanctions because they did not want to jeopardize pleas they had already brokered, sources said.
Those who say they were wrongly arrested maintain the move subjects them to unfair pressure.
Read more:
While the social Security folks shouldn't throw the book at the cops and hose jockeys, there still needs a penalty besides paying the money back.

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