Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boston Firefighter's fake disability claims

Link
Federal authorities issued a flurry of subpoenas across the city yesterday as they launched a grand jury investigation of disability abuse in the Boston Fire Department, including whether dozens of firefighters faked on-the-job injuries to significantly enhance their pensions, according to several officials briefed on the probe.

FBI agents served the subpoenas to more than a dozen current and former firefighters, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are secret. Agents also delivered a grand jury subpoena yesterday to City Hall demanding what is likely to be tens of thousands of pages of disability records dating back to 2000.

[...]

The Globe reported in January that 102 Boston firefighters claimed career-ending injuries while they were filling in for superiors at higher pay grades, enhancing their tax-free disability pensions by an average of $10,300 a year. The rash of injuries involved personnel at every level, including 67 firefighters, 16 lieutenants, and 11 captains, all of them filling in at the next-highest rank while their superiors were on vacation or out sick, sometimes for a single day.

In addition, eight district chiefs said they were seriously hurt while performing desk jobs as deputy chiefs - among them, one who said he permanently injured his back while moving a file cabinet. Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser said at the time that he considered some of those claims suspicious.