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Jury in LIRR disability fraud case says it's 'making good progress'

Dr. Peter Lesniewski, a defendant in the LIRR

Dr. Peter Lesniewski, a defendant in the LIRR disability trial, leaves Federal Court in Manhattan. Lesniewski is a board certified orthopedist and recommended at least 222 LIRR workers for disability benefits between 1998 and 2008. (July 18, 2013) Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

The jury in the Long Island Rail Road disability fraud trial left 15 minutes early on its second full day of deliberations in federal court in Manhattan Monday, but assured the judge it was moving forward.

"We're planning to stop deliberations at 4:45 today," the panel told U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero at 3 p.m. "We are making good progress working through the counts."

Orthopedist Dr. Peter Lesniewski of Rockville Centre and consultants Marie Baran of East Meadow and Joseph Rutigliano of Holtsville are charged with helping hundreds of LIRR retirees make bogus disability claims to the federal Railroad Retirement Board.

The trial began on July 15, and the jury got the case on Friday. In their only notes of substance, jurors asked to review testimony about cash payments to Rutigliano, a former LIRR union official, for help with retirees' disability applications, and asked a technical question about wire fraud charges in counts 14 through 20.

The indictment contains 21 counts of conspiracy, health care fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and false statements. Deliberations are scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.

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