Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boston Firefighter's fake disability claims

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.