NYC - (WALK) Two more former Long Island Rail Road workers are on track to spend decades behing bars after being found guilty of fraudulently collecting disability pensions from the U.S. Railroad Retirment Board.
Fred Catalano, 52, of Nesconset, retired in 2011 claiming neck, back and shoulder injuries, then pursued a black belt in jiujitsu, according to prosecutors.
Michael Costanza, 60, of Merrick, claimed disability and retired in 2004. Prosecutors say he went on to serve nearly 10 years as a volunteer in the North Merrick Fire Department.
The pair were convicted in federal court in Manhattan Thursday. Their convictions raise the total to 33 since investigators determined more than 90 percent of workers who took advantage of an early retirement plan claimed disabilities to enhance their pensions. Prosecutors say two doctors are among 33 people indicted in a decade-long scheme that cheated the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board out of approximately $1 billion.
Costanza faces up to 55 years in prison and Catalano faces up to 75 years when they are sentneced on February 26.
Logo: U.S. Railroad Retirement Board