Five residents from Nassau County have been charged with defrauding insurance companies of more than $97,000 workers’ compensation/disability benefits.
The charges follow an investigation by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the New York State Insurance Department, New York State Insurance Fund and the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Office of the Inspector General.
District attorney Kathleen Rice was quoted as saying, “Worker’s Compensation and Disability benefits are intended for those members of society who are too sick or injured to work, not those devious enough to try to beat the system. These five have chosen to abuse a system set up to help those in need, and will now face the consequences of their choices.”
The five Nassau County residents being charged include Carmalina DiGraci, 34, Vincenzo Papasidero, 66, Robert Woodhouse, 59, Thomas Saccende, 50, and Anne Cozzette, 46.
DiGraci is alleged to have submitted false disability claim documents stating that she suffered from dizziness, allergies, a sore throat and heart palpitations, as well as documentation from her physicians that she had Laryngopharyngeal reflux and needed six months to recover. It was later found that she falsified her claim and that her doctors did not recommend that she go on disability.
Vincenzo was classified as permanently partially disabled, but was observed installing a Jacuzzi among other physical activities. Woodhouse, who had injured his knee, elbow and hip while working as an exercise jockey, sent letters to his insurance carrier for two years claiming he was not working. It was discovered that Woodhouse was working for a consulting firm.
Saccende was classified as permanently partially disabled, but failed to report that he had returned to work, despite earning less than the allowable weekly amount. Cozzette was also classified as permanently partially disabled, but was found to be working at Edible Arrangements, which violated her disability.