LIRR Disability Fraud Case Ends in Three Convictions

By Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker is a former reporter and editor with The Epoch Times.
August 6, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

NEW YORK—A massive disability fraud scam ran by hundreds of Long Island Rail Road employees has ended in three convictions. Peter Lesniewski, Marie Baran and Joseph Rutigliano were convicted for their role in the criminal activity. In the words of U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharara, they “turned a safety net for the truly disabled into a gravy train for the corrupt.”

According to a statement from Bharara’s office on the conviction, Dr. Lesniewski helped several hundred Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employees to work the government system to their advantage by using fake medical diagnoses. Baran and Rutigliano, who pulled in payments for thousands of dollars, helped fill out fraudulent employee disability benefit applications. 

Lesniewski, Baran, and Rutigliano helped 79 percent of LIRR retirees get hundreds of millions of dollars in federal disability benefits between 1998 to 2011.

Previous legal proceedings led to the conviction of 25 others involved in the scam.

Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker
Genevieve Belmaker is a former reporter and editor with The Epoch Times.