Five charged in alleged fraud schemes

December 16, 2008 4:08:33 PM PST
In a time when budget crunching is essential, the Nassau County district attorney says anyone using the disability or worker's comp system to line their pockets can expect to be caught. The five people under arrest now could just be the tip of the iceberg, Kathleen Rice said.

In undercover surveillance video, 66-year-old Vincenzo Papasidero is seen moving slabs of stone to put in a Jacuzzi. He's doing it despite supposedly being out of work on disability from his Mineola cabinet business, collecting more than 22-thousand dollars in disability benefits for 13 years.

"We were able to see this person pick up granite stone, which is very heavy and while at the same time claiming disabled and receiving money," Rice said.

Papasidero's wife, Bernice, answered the door at their Glen Cove home saying she didn't know enough about the allegations, but stands by his innocence.

Also under arrest is Carmalina DiGraci of Glen Cove Authorities say she submitted disability claims stating she suffered dizziness and heart palpitations. She allegedly collected more than 37-thousand dollars in undeserved benefits from her insurance carrier.

Another suspect is Robert Woodhouse of Franklin Square. He worked at Belmont Racetrack in 2003 until he reportedly said he sustained injuries to his knee and hip while working as an exercise jockey. Woodhouse, Rice said, collected more than 31-thousand dollars a year while also working under the table as a consultant.

Thomas Saccende, Rice said, suffered a heart attack in 2002, but failed to report he returned to work at a casket company, adding his name to the list of those accused of collecting undeserved money. That ultimately falls on the taxpayers shoulders.

"The money taxpayers put in needs to go where it should, not to those looking to line their pockets with the system," Riche said.

Another person who Rice said is guilty of fraud is Anne Cozzette of Long Beach. A warrant has been issued for her arrest. Rice is seeking full restitution if found guilty of insurance fraud and grand larceny.

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