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10 charged in disability fraud case

NEW YORK, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- FBI agents in New York arrested 10 people early Thursday in a $1 billion Long Island Rail Road disability scheme.

Those charged include seven former railroad workers who are accused of making false pension claims, two doctors and a former federal railroad pension agency employee who allegedly helped the workers file the claims, The New York Times reported.

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They were arrested on mail fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud charges.

The federal investigation leading to the arrests was sparked after The New York Times reported the routine abuse of Railroad Retirement Board pensions by rail workers in 2008.

The doctors charged in the case signed off on more than 75 percent of the disability applications filed before 2008, prosecutors said.

One worker who allegedly received more that $75,000 in pension and disability payments for severe and disabling back pain allegedly went on a 400-mile bike tour around New York state, prosecutors said.

Authorities estimate the cost to the Railroad Retirement Board by false claims from Long Island Rail Road workers to be $1 billion.

If convicted, the defendants face a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison each.

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