Maria Rusin, left, walks with her daughter from the Federal...

Maria Rusin, left, walks with her daughter from the Federal Courthouse in Manhattan after being charged in a fraud scheme involving the Long Island Rail Road. Federal agents have arrested 10 people in connection with a $300 million scheme to defraud the Long Island Rail Road on disability claims, the FBI said Thursday morning. The arrests included LIRR workers and doctors who had been involved in the scheme to collect false disability claims, a source said. The FBI declined to disclose further details. A source said that the scheme was �on pace to reach $1 billion� if it had not been interrupted by the Thursday arrests. (October 28, 2011) Photo by Craig Ruttle Credit: Photo by Craig Ruttle

Calling all snitches.

You know any LIRR retirees who went out on disability pensions they didn't deserve?

Federal prosecutors say there could be hundreds of these scammers out running around, their phony on-the-job injuries costing train riders and taxpayers $1 billion or more. Perhaps you've seen one of these pension thieves, riding her bike around the neighborhood, playing vigorous tennis or golf, even shoveling his sidewalk on a snowy day.

Now would be a really good time to rat the faker out.

No one should have an ounce of sympathy for the phony disabled. They insult the truly unfortunate who really do get injured on the job -- and twist a well-intentioned system into a greedy piggy bank. If charges against them can be proved, why shouldn't they all go to jail?

FBI agent Diego Rodriguez urged the guilty to step forward and confess. "Who has better information about this scheme," he asked, "than those who perpetrated it?"

But you know how likely that is to happen. Evidence, information and handcuffs are what will turn 11 prosecutions into hundreds.

It shouldn't be so hard to identify the greedy chiselers here. According to the criminal complaint, the fraud was rampant, LIRR workers got disability benefits at a rate 12 times higher than Metro-North employees. And all 869 of the 50- to 55-year-olds who retired from the LIRR between 2003 and 2008 were found to be disabled and awarded disability benefits.

All of them!


1. Packing's exhausting.

2. New draperies cost too much.

3. Every block has grumpy neighbors.

4. No one will ever buy my house.

5. With all this traffic, we may never reach the new place.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Will the College Board's extra security finally end cheating on the SAT? Or are LI's college-bound connivers too clever to get caught? . . . Is it short odds -- or opening-weekend curiosity -- that's attracting long lines at Aqueduct, New York City's first "racino"? . . . Pamela Gluckin's out already? Five years for embezzling $4.3 million? Doesn't that come to less than $1 million a year for Roslyn's disgraced assistant superintendent? . . . When Teresa Caputo's toilet runs, is the "Long Island Medium" really convinced it's her dead cousin, the plumber, talking to her? Who's that when the phone rings? . . . Is the anti-mosquito pesticide methoprene, so helpful with West Nile, killing lobsters in Long Island Sound? Many East End lobstermen think so . . . Droopy home prices? Not in the Hamptons, where the median just surged 22 percent in a year, to $850,000.

Confession, anyone? The Police, "I'll be Watching You,"

Dakota was lonely on Halloween. It was no more complicated than that. So Denean Lane figured she'd bring her beloved beagle with her to work, which was at the Holiday Inn Express in Stony Brook. And so Barkfest was born. Last year, the first, attracted 400 owners and their costumed pets. This year's crowd? Who knows. But the free event, Sunday at 2 p.m., 3131 Nesconset Highway, already counts as LI's largest costumed pet parade. Voluntary donations go to Save-a-Pet of Port Jefferson, a nonprofit, no-kill shelter that finds loving families for homeless animals. But please, don't let Dakota feel ignored at the huge event he inspired. He'll be the beagle in the Robin costume this year.


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Ref shortage... Katie Lee Biegel debuts new wine... What's up on LI Credit: Newsday

Home elevation program... Suffolk vehicle auction... Ref shortage... Katie Lee Biegel debuts new wine.


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