Seventeen Queens residents are among the 106 people — 80 percent of them former cops and firefighters —who have been charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers by faking disability claims.
The defendants were all charged with grand larceny in the second degree and attempted grand larceny in the second degree. Four alleged ringleaders were also charged with first-degree grand larceny.
The alleged perpetrators lied about supposed psychiatric conditions in order to qualify for Social Security disability insurance, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who announced their indictments on Tuesday. They received an average of $30,000 to $50,000 a year in ill-gotten payments, Vance said.
The ringleaders allegedly coached the other 102 defendants on how to lie about their state of mind in order to qualify for benefits. The SSDI applicants typically claimed to have depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder — many saying their condition was caused by the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said they had “disgraced all first responders who perished” on 9/11, as well as those who later died from illnesses caused by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Almost all the disability applications contained common phrases such as “I nap on and off during the day” and “I’m up and down all night long,” according to Vance. But in fact the defendants were leading healthy, active lives, he said, with several employed in various jobs.
The defendants are mostly residents of the city, Long Island and lower Upstate counties. Those from Queens are Michael Barton, 55; Tyrone Breeden, 56; John Byrne, 47; Artrailyes (aka Denise) Carter, 53; Jacqueline Connolly, 57; Karen Galimi, 49; Kevin Galimi, 50; Peter Inzerilla, 40; Jodi Isolano (aka Giudice), 35; Helen Krill, 58; Darrin Lamantia, 56; Peter Martin, 49; Kevin McCullagh, 55; John McGarry, 50; Arnold Moskowitz, 66; Michael Rocco, 54; and Samuel Rushing, 42. The four alleged ringleaders all live in Nassau County.