BY LUIS GRONDA
Community Board 9 member Sam Esposito is among a number of former cops and firefighters indicted in a fraud scheme against the federal Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits program.
Esposito, a retired NYPD officer, was charged with second degree grand larceny and fourth degree criminal facilitation on Tuesday, according to a release by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.
Esposito’s father, Joseph, was one of the original four people charged in the case when it was announced last month. He is charged with second degree grand larceny and fourth degree conspiracy.
According to the press release, the four men, including Esposito’s father, are accused of telling SSDI applicants to lie about their mental conditions in order to get benefits they did not qualify for.
The United States Social Security Law says an individual can receive SSDI payment if they have a disability that prevents them from working. The average salary each person earns from the program is about $30,000 to $50,000.
The 28 people announced this week in relation to the fraud, including Sam Esposito, are accused of embellishing their condition in order to qualify for the SSDI. According to the release, they allegedly said they suffered from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression and could not work at all. Some even used responding to the 9/11 terror attack as a reason for their condition.
According to the charges, while many of the NYPD and FDNY associated with the fraud had limited physical disabilities that qualified them for a disability pension, their disabilities were not severe enough that it entitled them for SSDI.
CB9 District Manager Mary Ann Carey declined to comment on the matter when reached by phone. However, she did say that Esposito was present at two CB9-related meetings on Tuesday night, including its land use committee.
An attorney for Esposito, from the law firm of Treyvus and Konoski, said he was released on his own recognizance on Tuesday. His counsel declined to comment further on the situation.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.