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New York firefighter resigns under accusations of workers comp fraud

A firefighter with the Lockport fire department has resigned under accusations that he has committed workers comp fraud.  Michael A. Collette, a 19 year veteran of the department, resigned yesterday, stating that he could not be “David fighting Goliath”.


Collette, 45, claimed that he was hurt in October 2008 when he lifted a box of paper files and suffered nerve damage from a resulting back injury.  He went on disability leave in March of 2009.


However, the severity of Collette’s injury was called into question when he posted incriminating information on his personal Facebook account.  He owns MAC Limousine, a transportation company, and on Facebook reported that he had bought a home and opened the MAC office in Naples, Florida.


He later appeared as a paid extra in a motion picture being filmed in Buffalo called “Henry’s Crime”, playing the role of a security officer chasing a bank robbery suspect.  These activities were enough to make his former supervisors suspicious.


The city fire board convened a hearing to which Collette was summoned, the intent of which was to confront Collette with evidence of his fraud.  He would have been accused of violating Lockport fire department rules of conduct, and state and city laws governing compensation for injured firefighters.


His surprise resignation cut the hearing short.  The Lockport Mayor says he wants the money back that the city paid to Collette.