Yesterday, the Westbury, Long Island office of the Railroad Retirement Board was was raided by federal agents who are investigating possible fraud in disability payments to Long Island Rail Road retirees. While the NY Times recently detailed how 90-97% of LIRR employees were applying for--and receiving--disability benefits upon retirement since 2000, it turns out the feds had been investigating the situation for the past six months.
Newsday reports, "agents, from the FBI and the inspectors general offices of both the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, spent several hours questioning employees and combing through files. They left in the late afternoon, carting out 15 boxes of office records and two of the Westbury office's computers."
The USSRRB is the agency that approves disability payments--which end up coming from the federal government (it's believed LIRR disability payments have been around $250 million). The USRRB is based in Chicago, and the Times says it's "run by three presidential appointees, one representing labor, one representing management and one representing consumers." The board's chairman Michael S. Schwartz also released a memo from August, showing that he did ask the inspector general to investigate possible issues with LIRR disability claims.
Governor Paterson has been shocked by the allegations and empowered Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate the matter as well. Paterson told Newsday, "Apparently on your last day, at the retirement party, they sign you up for disability. They must have had a disability booth right outside the hall."