NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There have now been 14 guilty pleas in a scheme to defraud the Long Island Rail Road.
Daniel Dennis, a station attendant who worked for the LIRR for 30 years admitted Wednesday that he padded his retirement by falsely claiming that he was disabled on the job and no longer able to work.
His guilty plea comes after a guilty plea Tuesday by Gregory Noone of East Islip, a longtime railroad manager also charged with wrongly collecting disability benefits after retiring.
32 former railroad employees, doctors, and others who allegedly helped them carry out this retirement scam have been charged in the case.
They faced the federal charges after retirees who claimed crippling injuries were caught golfing, shoveling snow, or even taking a 400-mile bike ride.
As for Dennis, his attorney said he is a decent, hard-working man, who made a simple mistake in life.
Noone, 63, agreed to pay back $65,000 and faced up to 80 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, when he first announced the multi-million dollar fraud, said that the LIRR is a commuter line, not a gravy train for its employees.
Now those defendants, one by one, are jumping off that train, admitting guilt in the hope of avoiding a one-way ticket to prison. A guilty plea can mean two or three years in jail instead of 50.