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 is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.