More than 100 9/11 first responders busted for Social Security disability fraud

Ethel C. Fenig

Who can forget the picture of the valiant New York firefighters planting an American flag in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center a few days after 9/11 in conscious imitation of the iconic Iwo Jima picture?  Or the heroics of the firefighters running up the stairs of the burning buildings to rescue people while others ran down?  Or the great deeds of the New York police on that awful day?

Sadly, a few of these admirable public servants have tarnished the image of their respective departments with accusations they faked mental illness, have post traumatic stress disorders(PTSD) and thus are permanently disabled making them eligible for generous disability pensions. 

More than 100 suspects -- many of them retired city cops and firefighters falsely claiming they were traumatized on 9/11 -- were busted Tuesday in a huge mental disability pension fraud scam that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, authorities said.

The fraudsters were in cahoots with four ringleaders who helped them fake various mental disabilities so they could cash in on fat Social Security disability pensions totaling tens of thousands of dollars a year, authorities said.

But the investigation showed that many of the supposed burnouts were living it up stress-free -- with one riding a jet ski, another teaching martial arts and a third piloting a helicopter, sources said.

The 106 suspects netted so far cheated taxpayers out of $21.4 million, according to court documents.

Living lavishly on their disability payments, and some, on Social Security Disability, the seemingly disabled rode on their motorcycles, skied and went deep sea fishing on their permanent vacations courtesy of the taxpayers.

But not for long. 



Who can forget the picture of the valiant New York firefighters planting an American flag in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center a few days after 9/11 in conscious imitation of the iconic Iwo Jima picture?  Or the heroics of the firefighters running up the stairs of the burning buildings to rescue people while others ran down?  Or the great deeds of the New York police on that awful day?

Sadly, a few of these admirable public servants have tarnished the image of their respective departments with accusations they faked mental illness, have post traumatic stress disorders(PTSD) and thus are permanently disabled making them eligible for generous disability pensions. 

More than 100 suspects -- many of them retired city cops and firefighters falsely claiming they were traumatized on 9/11 -- were busted Tuesday in a huge mental disability pension fraud scam that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, authorities said.

The fraudsters were in cahoots with four ringleaders who helped them fake various mental disabilities so they could cash in on fat Social Security disability pensions totaling tens of thousands of dollars a year, authorities said.

But the investigation showed that many of the supposed burnouts were living it up stress-free -- with one riding a jet ski, another teaching martial arts and a third piloting a helicopter, sources said.

The 106 suspects netted so far cheated taxpayers out of $21.4 million, according to court documents.

Living lavishly on their disability payments, and some, on Social Security Disability, the seemingly disabled rode on their motorcycles, skied and went deep sea fishing on their permanent vacations courtesy of the taxpayers.

But not for long.