Two local doctors were among 10 people arrested by the FBI Thursday and accused of participating in a $1 billion disability scam for retiring LIRR workers.
The case grew out of a New York Times investigation in 2008 that reported a very high number of retiring workers winning claims of work-related injuries to boost their pensions.
The two doctors charged were Dr. Peter Ajemian of Syosset and Dr. Peter Lesniewski of Rockville Centre. Ajemian was employed at a Rockville Centre-based practice until his termination in late 2008. He currently operates a practice in Baldwin. Lesniewski is an orthopedic surgeon in East Meadow.
Court documents accused them of scamming the retirement system by filing false claims of injuries so they could collect an extra benefit from the Railroad Retirement Board.
"The defendants and their co-conspirators participated in a massive fraud scheme in which LIRR workers who were ready to retire falsely claimed to be disabled," federal authorities charged in a 74-page criminal complaint.
Specifically, the complaint stated Ajemian recommended "at least 734 LIRR employees for disability," while Lesniewski recommended "approximately 222 LIRR workers for disability benefits."
LIRR President Helena Williams said the organization "condemns any fraudulent activity associated with federal disability pension benefits."
"In August 2008 when the LIRR became aware of the high rate of LIRR retiree applications, the LIRR asked the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) IG and the MTA IG to investigate."
This is a breaking news story and Patch will update it as more information becomes available. Anthony Bottan contributed to this story.