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Former postal worker charged with scamming more than $160K in disability benefits

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A Flatlands man was arrested and charged with falsely claiming more than $160,000 in disability benefits from the United States Postal Service.

The former driver for the postal service was allegedly employed at flea markets while falsely claiming disability benefits for a medical condition, which constitutes robbery of the taxpayers, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard Donoghue.

“As alleged, the defendant was employed at flea markets at the same time he falsely claimed to be incapable of working for the Postal Service due to a medical condition,” said Donoghue. “Such disability scams are nothing less than stealing from our taxpayers and will not be ignored.”

The defendant started receiving workers’ compensation benefits in 2001 after he sustained a neck and back injury while working for the postal service, according to the attorney’s office.

In order to continue receiving those benefits, between March 2014 and April 2018, he submitted documents to the Department of Labor falsely claiming that he was totally disabled and unable to work due to his medical condition, while also falsely claiming that he was not earning any income, the attorney’s office said.

Special agents for the post office’s Inspector General video-recorded the suspect more than 20 times between 2014 and 2018 working as an organizer at flea markets in Brooklyn and Manhattan, as well as him engaging in strenuous activities such as carrying heavy objects, standing for long periods, and driving a vehicle.

The defendant allegedly also told an undercover special agent that he runs a flea market five days a week, working up to 12 hours a day.

During the relevant time period, he received more than $160,000 in workers’ compensation.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum of five years imprisonment, according to a spokesman for U.S. Attorney’s office.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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