Longtime CB9 Member Indicted in Massive Social Security Disability Fraud
QUEENS — A longtime member of Queens Community Board 9 and former police officer who was accused last year of making anti-Semitic remarks was indicted in a massive Social Security Disability scam, authorities said.
Esposito, 49, who has represented Ozone Park on the board since 1988, was among 28 people, including a number of retired police officers and firefighters, indicted Tuesday as part of an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney, authorities said.
The indictment came on the heels of a series of arrests in January when more than 100 suspects were charged with improperly receiving millions of dollars in benefits.
The suspects have “been charged with fabricating psychiatric conditions in order to fraudulently obtain Social Security Disability insurance,” said DA Cyrus Vance Jr. in a statement.
“These defendants are accused of gaming the system by lying about their lifestyle, including their ability to work, drive, handle money, shop, and socialize, in order to obtain benefits to which they were not entitled.”
According to the DA's office, Esposito, who was charged with grand larceny and criminal facilitation, is the son of one of the alleged ringleaders, Joseph Esposito, 64, also a former police officer, who was accused of coaching applicants to lie about their psychiatric conditions in order to obtain benefits.
The Social Security Disability insurance payments ranged from approximately $30,000 to $50,000 a year per person, the Manhattan DA’s office said.
Mary Ann Carey, district manger of Community Board 9, said she had no comment about the case.
Last year, Esposito was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks about some of his Jewish colleagues after they complained that the meal Esposito bought for a pre-board dinner was insufficiently kosher.
Esposito said that his remarks were not anti-Semitic and were only intended as a criticism of three board members.
He faced being kicked off the board after making his comments, but the board voted to keep him. Esposito said the attempt to remove him from the board was in retaliation for his support for District Manager Mary Ann Carey, whom some board members wanted to remove last June.
Esposito could not be reached for comment.