Updating a blog post we brought you this spring, many of New York City’s worst Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) scammers were expected to plead guilty earlier this month to collecting thousands of dollars in a scheme that involved former cops and firefighters.
According to the New York Post, ex-Queens cop Louis Hurtado, 62, who collected $470,000 in payments over 26 years, was expected to plead guilty in a cooperation deal with prosecutors. Hurtado allegedly collected SSDI even though he taught black-belt karate classes. He was among a ring of people who collected payments through a fraud with an alleged 106 others.
Hurtado reportedly met with a judge and prosecutors earlier this month, and worked out a deal to avoid additional charges. So far, investigators have recovered an estimated $10 million out of the $400 million stolen.
The scheme’s alleged ringleader John Minerva, a former detective’s union employee who was caught in January with $325,000 in a safety-deposit box in his home and $60,000 in cash, pleaded not guilty to additional charges of grand larceny and conspiracy. Several others are awaiting trial.
According to media reports, some defendants received as much as $50,000 per year through SSDI and other funding sources, as they claimed they were no longer able to work due to the trauma caused by the 9/11 attacks.
If I Cannot Work, Can I Collect Disability Benefits?
As this case proves, people who attempt to cheat the SSDI system by receiving payments they do not qualify for are punished in criminal court. It is our hope that the media attention being paid to this case results in dissuading people from ever thinking about committing disability fraud.
You should only collect disability benefits if you are truly unable to work. If you have questions about an application for benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers