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Disability Insurance…Here to Pump You Up?

Disability Insurance…Here to Pump You Up?

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

On June 14, 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced the guilty plea from Anthony Ragusa, 52, for fraudulently collecting more than $200,000 USD in disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), all while pumping iron for body building competitions.

Ragusa applied for and started receiving disability benefits in 2013. On his application, Ragusa states that as a result from a fall in his job as an electrician, the pain from his injuries prevented him from working in any capacity. He also stated he had difficulty bending to put on shoes, walking for more than 15 minutes, and sitting for more than 30 minutes.

At the time of his initial application, Ragusa was the president and owner of the WhiteStar Limousine company in New Hyde Park, NY, a fact Ragusa failed to mention. While maintaining his eligibility for disability payments with updated reports and court visits, Ragusa continued to operate this business and earn income. Who knows how long our fraudster could have kept this going! Unfortunately for him, his wife was very active on social media!

Loly Ragusa- herself a member of the International Federation of Bodybuilders- and proud of her husbands buffed up appearance, started sharing photos and videos on her Instagram account of Ragusa’s physical transformation into a body builder beginning in 2017. Ragusa could be seen lifting heavy weights and training for body building competitions, at Bev Francis gym, known as “The Mecca” for bodybuilders. It has been said before, be careful what you post on social media…because the cops, the government AND the insurance investigators all have the internet too, and Ragusa’s muscles were big enough to show fraud!

Ragusa pleaded guilty to second-degree larceny and will have to pay back all the money he swindled. Luckily, WhiteStar Limousine is still open for business, and he should be able to pay that back before his five-year probation ends.

A special shout out to the Cooperative Disability Investigations Program, which works with state, local and law enforcement agencies to combat fraud, and the SSA for their assistance in this case.

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article, posted in the New York Times, June 18, 2022, New York bodybuilder caught in fraud scheme, by Maddie Panzer

A Long Island bodybuilder collecting disability insurance for years for a supposedly devastating injury was later caught pumping iron online, and now the dumbbell has to pay the ill-gotten cash back, authorities said.

Anthony Ragusa, 52, pleaded guilty in Suffolk County Court to one count of second-degree grand larceny.

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