Updating a story that we have been following for the past year, the ringleader of a massive New York Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) scam has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and been sentenced to a year in jail.
According to the New York Daily News, Raymond Lavallee, 84, a Long Island lawyer who represented and coached the applicants involved in the scheme, pleaded guilty to a single count of fourth-degree conspiracy. He will now spend a year behind bars and have to pay $2 million in restitution.
Lavellee is the last of four main offenders who have pleaded guilty to crimes. The fraud generated national headlines in 2014, as it included hundreds of former cops and firefighters. Some of the defendants allegedly received as much as $50,000 per year in benefits and other funding sources, as they claimed they were no longer able to work due to the trauma caused by the September 11, 2001 attacks.
As this case has proven, those who attempt to cheat the SSDI system by receiving payments that they do not qualify for face tough criminal penalties. It should be noted though that although this case made the news, Social Security fraud is actually rare. The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities has estimated that fraud constitutes less than 1 percent of SSDI paid benefits.
I Am Disabled and Need Help Seeking SSDI Benefits
If you are truly disabled, for more information about applying for SSDI benefits, you can visit our Social Security FAQ page. Remember, to qualify for benefits, you must be able to show that your disabilities have lasted for longer than a year or could result in death.
Speaking to an attorney may prove to be a wise decision should you be applying for benefits or appealing a decision. A mistake during this process because you did not have representation can significantly alter your chances at receiving benefits.
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Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers