When it comes to cops and firemen, most of us would like to hold them to a higher standard. The truth is, they are just human, and there are good ones and bad ones. Eighty retired cops and firemen have been charged in one of the largest Social Security disability frauds ever, with New York City cops and firemen who claimed they were permanently disabled and unable to do their jobs were caught posting pics of themselves on Facebook doing things they shouldn't have been doing if they were actually disabled -- like riding a jet ski, working as a karate instructor, and being a helicopter pilot.
The New York Times reports that the men, despite them claiming they suffered from disabilities like PTSD, anxiety, or depression that rendered them unable to do their jobs, were collecting Social Security disability checks of up to $50,000 a year. Some even got awards of up to $500,000. Most of them claimed their mental disabilities were a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
But on Facebook, the men were reportedly not so disabled after all. One was fishing in Costa Rica. One was riding a motorcycle. One was selling cannoli in Little Italy. Others worked different jobs, like being a pilot and martial arts instructor.
Of course, one could argue that just because you can fish in Costa Rica doesn't mean you're capable of going out and fighting the bad guys or fires anymore -- but qualifying for disability payments means you are not able to do a certain amount of things. Apparently whatever they were doing on Facebook went against that.
Prosecutors allege that the retired servicemen were "coached" by a ringleader how to appear during disability hearings -- including being "disheveled" and "disoriented." Not exactly the kind of thing a helicopter pilot should be.
Most of the men will be arrested soon.
Sounds like these guys just wanted to take advantage of 9/11 and get out of their jobs -- but with significant pay. Despicable to use that as an excuse not to work. If you don't want to be a cop or fireman anymore, that's fine. You certainly have the right to decide it's too much, too dangerous, too anxiety-producing.
But if you're disabled, you're disabled. You're not off doing karate and traveling to foreign countries.
Good old Facebook. Catching criminals since 2004. Too sad that the criminals were cops this time.
What do you think about what they did?
Image via Rollingrck/Flickr