13th guilty plea in LIRR disability fraud case

A new report says LIRR has untapped potential A new report says LIRR has untapped potential to transform the economies of Nassau and Suffolk. Photo Credit: Chris Ware

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Former Long Island Rail Road engineering manager Gregory Noone Tuesday became the 13th retiree to plead guilty in what federal prosecutors say was a massive disability fraud scheme, officials said.

Noone, 63, of East Islip, is one of 32 doctors, retirees and others charged over the past two years in a scheme to make hundreds of fraudulent claims that the government said could have cost the federal Railroad Retirement Board as much as $1 billion.

He was accused of collecting disability payments despite playing tennis several hours every week, and signing up for rounds of golf on one course 140 times in a 9-month period after his retirement. Prosecutors said he was collecting more than $100,000 in pension and disability payments.

Noone pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy, fraud and false claims, and faces up to 80 years in prison; he also agreed to pay back $65,000, according to court filings.

Like several previous defendants, he agreed to cooperate with the government in a bid for leniency at sentencing, according to his plea agreement.

Trials of the 19 defendants who have not resolved their cases are expected to begin later this year.

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In addition to the 13 who have pleaded guilty, 44 LIRR retirees have signed up for an amnesty program in which they receive immunity from prosecution in return for admitting they made fraudulent disability claims and give up any future disability payments. The deadline for the amnesty program, created in 2012, has passed.

Noone's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

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