NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The retired NYPD officer who posted a photo of himself on a Jet Ski to Facebook while he was collecting disability payments turned himself into police Thursday.
As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported, Glenn Lieberman claimed he suffers from a debilitating mental illness after being exposed to toxic fumes related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. According to prosecutors, Lieberman said he couldn’t leave his house, work, travel or keeping a checking account.
But prosecutors say he actually lived a very active lifestyle. In addition to now-infamous Jet Ski photo, which shows Lieberman raising both of his middle fingers, the ex-cop traveled to Europe and Central America more than 20 times since he began receiving his Social Security disability pension, prosecutors said. He also allegedly ran three import-export businesses while enjoying life in a waterfront home in Palm Beach, Fla.
Lieberman’s lawyer told the New York Daily News the Jet Ski photo was taken before his client applied for disability.
Lieberman, 44, is accused of collecting $120,000 in undeserved disability payments. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Lieberman was among more than 100 former New York City workers — including 80 retired police officers and firefifghters — named in a social security fraud indictment Tuesday. The suspects faking psychiatric problems, bilking taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars, prosecutors said.
District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance said earlier this week that four ringleaders coached the suspects on how to falsely describe symptoms of depression and other mental health problems that would make them eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits, which requires a complete inability to work.
“For years, federal taxpayers have unwittingly financed the lifestyles of the defendants charged today,” said Vance. “The Social Security Disability safety net exists to help those who are unable to help themselves. Many participants cynically manufactured claims of mental illness as a result of Sept. 11, dishonoring the first responders who did serve their City at the expense of their own health and safety.”
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