Ulster County Fraud Suspect Showed No Sign Of Needing Cane

New York, NY (CompNewsNetwork) - An Ulster County man who said he couldn't walk without the use of a cane allegedly was caught under surveillance walking just fine, as well as driving a car and a motorcycle, while collecting more than $77,000 in a case of workers' compensation fraud against the New York State Insurance Fund.

Joseph Gambino, 58, of Saugerties, is facing felony charges of grand larceny, insurance fraud, offering a false instrument for filing, and fraudulent practices in connection with violating the Workers' Compensation Law following his arrest on December 3.

Authorities said that Mr. Gambino began collecting workers' compensation benefits after injuring his lower back while moving a liquid propane tank for a former employer, Colonial Coal Yard, Inc., in Tannersville, NY, Greene County.
According to investigators, medical records indicated Mr. Gambino required the use of a cane to walk, required help to do other daily tasks, and could neither drive nor complete any household chores.

Under surveillance, however, Mr. Gambino allegedly was found to be able to walk without the use of his cane, and could drive a car, as well as a motorcycle, and also move furniture. Surveillance allegedly showed Mr. Gambino using a cane only when he attended medical examinations or Workers' Compensation Board hearings, investigators said.

Investigators determined that Mr. Gambino allegedly received $77,800 to which he was not entitled. As a result of his arrest, investigators estimated the potential future savings on Mr. Gambino's claim to be $311,686.

"Our investigators work together with other agencies to track down fraud suspects and compile evidence in these types of cases," Executive Director David Wehner said. "As you can see, the amount of fraud uncovered and the potential savings in such cases can be substantial." 

The arrest was the result of a joint investigation by NYSIF Division of Confidential Investigations, the New York State Insurance Department Frauds Bureau and the Office of the Workers' Compensation Board Fraud Inspector General.

Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations only. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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