Timothy Carroll, left, and Thomas Rohling - co-owners of Tragic Solutions
Anyone who has followed the painful saga in Detroit knows that the courts have ruled that pension payments, YES, even earned pension benefits are NOT sacrosanct during such bankruptcies (http://www.nytimes.com/…/pension-ruling-in-detroit-echoes-w…).
In Detroit's wake, San Jose, CA and other cities have followed suit in looking to reconfigure existing pension and healthcare benefits in the face of looming fiscal crises.
In neighboring NJ, two consecutive Governors (Whitman a Republican and Corzine a Democrat) failed to FOLLOW the LAW mandating that State's pension reserves be funded annually and the result has been a near implosion of that State's pension system. A system that's STILL tottering on the brink of disaster.
UNFORTUNATELY there are always reckless, irresponsible people who seem to go out of their way to throw the system that has helped them and countless others, who are NOT reckless and irresponsible, under the bus.
Guys like Tim Carroll of NJ (http://watchdog.org/…/disabled-partners-in-crime-scenes-wi…/); "Timothy Carroll retired at age 33. He claimed he was “totally and permanently” disabled by the trauma of seeing dead bodies while working as a sheriff’s officer in Morris County, New Jersey.
“I suffer from crime scene flashbacks and hallucinations due to all the years I served as a crime scene detective,” stated Carroll in his disability application.
"The real shock is Carroll then started a business that cleans up gory crime scenes, a New Jersey Watchdog investigation found. Yet the state continues to pay him a disability pension for life, a sum that could total $1 million or more.
"Carroll’s company, Tragic Solutions LLC of Linden, N.J., specializes in removing human residue from “bloody and/or messy” scenes, including “murder, suicide, accidental, natural and decomposing deaths,” according to its website. He formed the business with Thomas Rohling, another former Morris sheriff’s officer who draws a state disability pension."
Carroll lost his disability pension in court last year.(http://watchdog.org/120938/disability-pension-abuse/)
Abuses such as that prompted on NJ Official (John Sierchio, former chairman and current member of the PFRS Board of Trustees) to say, “I’d say 95 percent of the disability applications are questionable. It’s people who don’t want to work anymore. If a person trips over a curb, slips on ice or falls off a chair...”
According to John Sierchio, it's lax state laws that make such pensions rife for abuse. “They’re playing within the rules,” Sierchio said. “It’s the rules that are the problem. I believe that if they don’t close those loopholes, it’s going to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”
THIS is someone WITHIN the SYSTEM condemning it!
Closer to home...and more recently, Chris DePaolis, who retired from the NYPD on disability now works for the Broward County Sheriff's Department in Florida...and regularly runs marathons with his wife (http://www.nydailynews.com/…/exclusive-ex-cop-disability-le…).
To compound his error, Mr. DePaolis made his intentions all too clear on....FACEBOOK (where else). On his personal Facebook page, he lamented America’s descent into a handout culture, then shared his decision to abuse the system. “Now I’ll take whatever I can get for this state and not feel one bit bad. If everyone else is going to get free s--t and not have to work. . . . I plan to do the same now. They made it clear to me so now am joining them,” he wrote on Facebook Nov. 7, 2012, the day after President Obama was reelected.
Yeah, the old, "Everybody else is doing it" line....That is NOT at all helpful!
Things like that make millions of VOTERS very angry. While people don't mind helping those truly disabled (as in NOT being able to work any longer), they certainly DO mind being scammed....especially by those bold enough to be "boastful, boisterous A-holes" about it! The actions of those people directly and probably deliberately harm all those who are truly disabled.
AND sadly, there's no shortage of such examples, like John Giuffrida, 42: disabled from the FDNY on lung ailments that apparently weren't severe enough to stop him from scuba diving and becoming a mixed-martial-arts fighter who competes in grueling kickboxing matches, or James Kadnar, also 42, who started collecting a disability pension in 2006 based on a chronic sinus condition, but who applied to become a cop in North Carolina in 2010 and underwent what was described as a “vigorous four-month training program.” (http://nypost.com/…/fdny-pension-board-to-review-firefight…/)
As recently as 2014 D.A. Cyrus Vance charged 106 people with SSDI fraud including 80 NYPD cops and FDNY firefighters claiming that fraud "cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars." (http://manhattanda.org/…/da-vance-106-defendants-including-…)
And PLEASE don't think regular people don't notice this...they do (http://joemygod.blogspot.com/…/911-scandal-roils-nypd-and-f…) Images like THIS (http://nypost.com/…/…/congress-enabled-911-disability-scams/) tend to stay in people's minds.
So, is it any wonder that feckless politicians would use a few examples of reckless and irresponsible recipients to undermine an entire system and scapegoat the over 90% of those who are truly disabled and truly in need? Seriously?! Have you seen any of the many exposes on Welfare Fraud?
When their government's finances are at stake, local politicians will do just about ANYTHING and cross just about ANYONE to bail themselves out.
ALL local politicians care about is ascending to higher office, just as those already IN higher office ONLY care about...staying in office. That's why public pressure is so vital and those reckless and irresponsible few help generate a very righteous indignation and exacerbate that public pressure.
Maybe these guys are just stuck on stupid.
Maybe they've been blinded by GREED ("I got this disability gig, so why not take another job and get ANOTHER disability pension from that one too?")
Maybe they don't care about any of the scores of truly disabled members...well, it's obvious they don't care about anyone but themselves.
BUT whatever the reason, what these folks do is unconscionable and SHOULD BE criminal. IF you support and respect the disability pension system, then you HAVE TO condemn those who abuse it...simple as that.
Governments ARE cracking down on such people, unfortunately, that might just be a first step to a larger, more draconian plan.
A word to the wise...DON'T be THAT GUY!