A jury in federal court in Manhattan Thursday morning convicted two Long Island Rail Road retirees of disability fraud in the latest trial stemming from a scheme to make phony claims that involved hundreds of workers.
Former conductor and transportation manager Michael Costanza, 60, of Merrick, and former train maintenance crew foreman Frederick Catalano, 53, of Nesconset, were convicted of conspiracy and fraud.
The verdict, at the start of the third day of deliberations, followed a two-week trial. Prosecutors alleged that Catalano, who claimed he was too disabled to work in 2011, continued to pursue a jiujitsu black belt, while Costanza served as a firefighter after quitting in 2004.
Prosecutors have charged 33 doctors, consultants and retirees with being part of the alleged scam to rip off the federal Railroad Retirement Board. With the convictions, all 33 have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial.
The government has not definitively stated whether it plans any further criminal prosecutions.
Nearly 50 retirees voluntarily gave up their disability pensions as part of a now-closed amnesty deal, and the retirement board has challenged the benefits of dozens of others.
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