Up to 1,000 retired police officers and firefighters in New York city were involved in mental health fraud. They were coached in how to fake mental health testing and how to appear confused and distraught. They received pensions and other payouts of over $400M dating back to 1988.
Investigators discovered their facebook pages that told a very different story. Former police officers had told doctors that they were too mentally scarred to leave home. On Facebook they had posted pictures of themselves fishing, riding motorcycles, flying helicopters and playing basketball.
Doctors, psychologists and social workers live and work in a bubble of trust. Their default is to believe their patient’s statements. Their jobs are to help the patient. The expectation is that the patient wants to get better.
It is very disappointing to learn that mental health fraud is a common hustle used to steal vast sums of money from insurers and health systems.
The New York investigation charges 106 persons, four of whom are accused of running the scheme. The ring leaders would receive up to $28,000 in kickbacks from those receiving the social security benefits.
The group was headed by a Long Island lawyer who worked with a pension consultant and a former police officer. The police officer worked for the Detectives Endowment Association.
Scores of former police officers and firefighters were arrested in a massive sweep. Criminal charges are being pursued.
Mental health fraud is likely pervasive even in Canada.