2 more LIRR disability fraudsters given probation

(L-R) Thomas Delalla, a former train car repairman, (L-R) Thomas Delalla, a former train car repairman, and Brian Delgiorno, had earlier pleaded guilty to fraud, perjury and related charges after a Manhattan federal grand jury brought indictments against a total of 33 LIRR workers, claims facilitators and doctors. Photo Credit: Agaton Strom; Yeong-Ung Yang

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Two more ex-LIRR workers who cooperated with prosecutors in the railroad disability fraud investigation got probation Friday from a Manhattan federal judge who credited their help in the massive case.

Thomas Delalla, a former train car repairman, and Brian Delgiorno had earlier pleaded guilty to fraud, perjury and related charges after a Manhattan federal grand jury brought indictments against a total of 33 LIRR workers, claims facilitators and doctors. The fraud scheme involved railroad employees who prosecutors said submitted hundreds of millions of dollars in false disability claims "in droves" to boost their retirement incomes.

Both Delalla and Delgiorno, in separate proceedings, received identical sentences of three years probation along with three months home confinement from Judge Victor Marrero. However, Marrero imposed different restitution amounts: Delalla has to repay $156,742 while Delgiorno has a $160,470 obligation. The amounts apparently represent what they received in disability payments.

Delalla, 55, of West Islip, apologized for his actions and said being charged criminally has had a devastating impact on his family. He had worked as a mechanic before retiring in 2008.

"This is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life," Delalla told the court. "I made a promise to my family and myself that this mistake I made will not define the man I am."

Delgiorno, 56, of Howard Beach, apologized to Marrero and to his wife, who was the only spectator in the public gallery. He had worked as a car repairman-welder when he retired in 2008.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Friedlander submitted memorandums to the court that detailed how Delalla and Delgiorno had cooperated with the government. She said their assistance had been "substantial" in uncovering what she called "the deeply ingrained culture of fraud at the LIRR."

The government's submission to the court helped Marrero justify a non-incarceration sentence for both defendants. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Delalla had faced up to 41 months in prison and Delgiorno up to 27 months.

It was unclear Friday what repayment schedule Delalla and Delgiorno would have to follow. Previous defendants who cooperated in the LIRR case and pleaded guilty were required to make payments of at least 10 percent of their gross incomes.

Friday's sentences were the last of the LIRR fraud cases that have led to prosecutions. Officials said a total of 33 defendants were charged, with 28 pleading guilty and five defendants convicted after trial.

"I am going to miss this, Ms. Friedlander," Marrero said wistfully as he prepared to leave the courtroom after Delgiorno was sentenced. "This is the last one."

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