Former NYPD sergeant charged with 9/11 benefits fraud

Former NYPD sergeant charged with 9/11 benefits fraud

January 7, 2021

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A former NYPD sergeant allegedly lied about having worked on 9/11 recovery efforts as part of an effort to score cash and medical benefits, authorities said.

Sally Spinosa, 55, claimed to have worked for 10 months at the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island beginning in September 2001 in a 2010 interview with the World Trade Center Health Program, according to a criminal complaint. The organization provides medical treatment to people who were exposed at 9/11 disaster and recovery sites.

“After the September 11 attacks on New York City, the brave men and women of the NYPD risked their lives and safety to rebuild the city,” said Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss. “As Alleged, former NYPD sergeant Sally Spinosa exploited her position by brazenly — and falsely– claiming to have worked hundreds of hours in the recovery effort.”

The 33-year veteran allegedly lied again in 2014 when applying for a payout from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which doles out monetary awards to victims of the attack and to people who were injured during the subsequent clean up efforts.

Spinosa told the organization that she was at the landfill two hours a day for 62 straight days after the Twin Towers crumbled, supplying an affidavit purportedly signed by a supervisor to corroborate her assertion.

But Manhattan prosecutors say the affidavit was forged, and Spinosa was actually pregnant at the time. She was either working limited hours or on parental leave during the period in question, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Before prosecutors uncovered her scheme, Spinosa received medical benefits from the WTC Health Program. Her application to the Victim Compensation Fund is still pending.

Spinosa, of Freehold, NJ, left the force in 2019. She had been assigned to the NYPD’s Patrol Services Bureau in Staten Island.

She’s charged with one count each of wire fraud, submitting false claims, and aggravated identity theft. She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the top charge, officials said.

Spinosa didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

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