Jurors in the disability fraud trial of two former Long Island Rail Road workers finished their second day of deliberations in federal court in Manhattan without a verdict Wednesday after asking to review the testimony of one of the defendants and his wife.
In addition to asking for the testimony of former crew foreman Fred Catalano, 52, of Nesconset, and his wife, Alison, who backed his claim that he had back pain, jurors also asked a technical question about the crime of health care fraud that indicated they might be skeptical about one charge.
Catalano and former conductor Michael Costanza, 60, of Merrick, are accused of conspiring with doctors, consultants and hundreds of retirees to submit phony claims to the federal Railroad Retirement Board.
Thirty-one of 33 defendants have pleaded guilty or been convicted. In the only other trial a jury in August reached guilty verdicts on the third day of deliberations against a doctor and two consultants.
Catalano, in the testimony requested by jurors, denied that he had lied about suffering from disabling pain. He admitted pursuing a jiujitsu black belt after retiring but insisted the sport didn't overstress the parts of his body that prevented him from working.
Alison Catalano said her husband had a shower seat installed and was limited around the house because of his back. She also said the couple saw Marie Baran — a consultant convicted in the conspiracy — for retirement counseling, not to make up a phony application.
Catalano and Costanza each are charged with two conspiracy counts, health care fraud and wire fraud. Catalano is also charged with mail fraud.
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