Wednesday, January 8, 2014

9/11 fraud - a sad day in New York City history

Fraud is a type of illegal activity in which a person pretends to be or do something in order to make money.  Basically fraud means that a person lies in order to make money illegally.

This is a very sad and disgraceful story. If something is disgraceful, it means it is very embarrassing morally, or a person should feel extreme shame and regret for what he/she did. "Moral" means being good.  "Immoral" means acting badly.

It looks as if many police officers and firemen, in NY City, pretended to be ill or injured (hurt) due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  Many falsely claimed that by working at the 9/11 site they caught various illnesses or developed health problems.  Yet, it seems that they were lying in order to retire (leave their jobs) early and to collect a lot of free money from the government.

Although this happened many years ago, many of them have now been caught and will probably go to jail.  It looks as if over 70 New York Police Officers have been arrested (taken in by the police).  This is a very sad day in the history of New York City.  These were people who were trusted, but they tried to make money from a terrible event in which many people were killed.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

FDNY - Fire Department New York

NYPD - New York Police Department

retirees - people who have stopped working for the rest of their lives

to fake something - to pretend to be doing something that you are not doing, or to pretend to be something that you are not 

a scam - an illegal plan to make money from others

greedy - to care about money more than anything

suffered devastating losses - many men died from these departments; if something is devastating, it is shockingly terrible

disability pension benefits - if you are working at a city job and you become ill or hurt because of the job, you will be considered 'disabled' (unable to work) and you will receive a pension (money from the government for the rest of your life).  These are disability pension benefits.

emotional trauma - if you suffer emotional trauma, you are psychologically hurt to the point where your life becomes difficult to live.  Many soldiers experience emotional trauma because they see people die in horrible ways.  So many police officers and firemen claimed that they suffered such emotional trauma that they could no longer work.

alleged scammers - people who have been accused of being scammers (someone who was involved in a scam).  If it is alleged that someone did something, someone says he did it, but it hasn't been proved yet.

arrested - taken by the police

a Social Security rip-off - the Social Security Department is the department that sends money to people who are disabled.  A rip-off is when someone steals something from someone else.

a Correction officer - someone who works in a prison or jail

Nassau County is an area near New York City - a cop is a police officer

a chore - activity

a ringleader - a leader of an illegal operation or organization

to pocket - to illegally take

bogus claims - false claims; a claim in this case is a formal statement that the person can no longer work

kickback fee - so the leaders (ringleaders) would help police officers and firemen get these Social Security benefits illegally, and they would get a "kickback" of the money.  The police officers and firemen would give money back to the leaders who helped them get the money. These are 'kickbacks."

netted - acquired, got

the tip of the iceberg - just a little bit, not the whole thing

holding gun permits - having the paperwork that allows you to keep a gun legally

of sound mind - they were psychologically healthy.  So to get free money the police said they were suffering from psychological problems, but to keep their guns they claimed that they were psychologically healthy.

a discrepancy - this means that there is a difference between two things that should be the same

con artists - criminals who develop plans to steal money; to con someone is to deceive or trick the person

3/4 pay tax free - they were getting 3/4 of what they had been paid when they worked, and they were not required to pay taxes.

shamelessly exploited - if you do something shamelessly, it means you feel no shame or no guilt even when you do something wrong; to exploit means to use.  So these guys shamelessly made money while other people were suffering. They did not feel bad about the crimes they were committing.

post-traumatic-stress-disorder - when you feel psychological or mental pain after a terrible event and this pain will not go away

they were coached to lie - they were taught how to lie

prosecutors - lawyers for New York who will take these accused criminals to court

in the line of duty - while working

incapacitated - unable to function well, unable to live normally

a treasure trove - basically this means a lot of useful information

damning evidence - material which indicated the police and firemen were lying.  Basically the investigators just went to the Facebook pages of these cops and saw that they were not incapacitated. To be damned means to be sent to hell.

conning the system - abusing the system, tricking the system, misusing the system

a defendant - someone accused of a crime

boisterously - enthusiastically, aggressively

cannoli - a type of Italian food

recruit - find and bring them into the plan

$1 million dollars bail - money they had to give to the court system to stay out of jail until their trial

proclaimed their innocence - they said they did not do anything wrong

minimal - not doing much

decorated veteran - he was in World War II and he won awards for his bravery and courage; a veteran is someone who had been in the military

to advocate - to speak in favor of something or to give advice

disgust - if you see or hear about something that is so wrong that it makes you feel sick, you feel disgust

a scheme - a plan to do something illegal

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