MANHATTAN — A pair of former NYPD officers and a retired Nassau County policeman have filed a $30 million lawsuit against Manhattan's district attorney claiming their rights were violated when they were wrongfully accused of a 9/11 Social Security scam.
Philip Blessinger, 66, Scott Greco, 52, and John Byrne, 50, say they shouldn't have been involved in a sweep of 80 former NYPD and FDNY members who claimed disability brought on by the 9/11 attacks, according to the suit filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
They were arrested three years ago. Last year the three were cleared of all wrongdoing, but the suit alleges they had been publicly humiliated, suffered financial woes and that their health deteriorated as a result of the accusations.
“There’s a ripple effect when an innocent person is indicted and the DA’s office doesn’t do the proper investigation to figure out who’s guilty and who’s innocent,” their lawyer, Jacob Weinstein, said.
“It’s not like it disappears when a case is dismissed. They’re continuing to suffer."
The charges brought against Blessinger, a former Nassau County police sergeant, and Greco and Byrne, both ex-NYPD officers, meant their disability pay was frozen, Weinstein said.
He said all three legitimately suffer from PTSD and other mental ailments.
“Their assets were frozen, their rights were turned over,” he said.
Weinstein added that all three were duped in August into signing waivers dismissing their right to sue.
“They didn’t know what they were signing,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe the DA’s office will be able to enforce the signed papers.
The Manhattan DA’s Office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The city's law department spokesman Nick Paolucci said his office will review the suit.