The Gravy Train


The term ”gravy train” is associated with railroad slang from the 19th century and can be described as experiencing a generous income by participating in a lucrative venture that doesn’t require much effort. Thirty-three retirees, doctors and facilitators hopped on board the Long Island Rail Road (LLRI) ”gravy train” in a massive disability scheme to defraud the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board of $1 Billion in retirement and disability benefits. (What a train wreck!) The Long Island Newsday reports that two of four remaining retirees charged recently pleaded guilty to collecting benefits from phony disability claims submitted to LLRI.

The story reports that a former conductor and a dispatcher were the latest to admit their part in the scheme. The conductor, who continued to work as a funeral director and participate in competitive trap shooting after claiming disability due to a herniated disk and carpal tunnel syndrome, got himself into a bit of hot water at his gun club. The sharpshooter allegedly threatened a witness, whom he believed had blown the whistle on him, which landed in jail until his sentencing. Authorities said the former dispatcher enjoyed extensive international travel and golfing, despite severe back pain, which made it difficult to walk. (You can’t miss the irony here.)

The 62-year-old former conductor could face a sentence of 27 to 33 months and will be required to forfeit $307,581 in fraudulent disability benefits. The 56-year-old former dispatcher faces 21 to 27 months and will have to forfeit $211,700.

Both fraudsters admitted that they knew what they were doing was wrong, so we can assume that somewhere along the ride, their morals got derailed. Instead of getting a first class ticket to ”Easy Street,” these fraudsters got a one way ticket to jail.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on the article titled, ”Two More LIRR Retirees Plead Guilty in Disability Fraud,” written by John Riley and published in the Long Island Newsday on September 4, 2013.

LONG ISLAND – Two of the four remaining Long Island Rail Road retirees with outstanding charges of disability fraud pleaded guilty Monday as their trial was about to begin in federal court in Manhattan.

Former conductor Thomas Coscetta, 62, of Southold, and dispatcher Kevin Neville, 56, of Islip Terrace, each face a maximum of 20 years in prison after back-to-back pleas to conspiracy to defraud the federal Railroad Retirement Board.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.