Rikers Correction Officers Charged With Large Sick Go away Fraud

Three correction officers working at Rikers Island correctional amenities in New York have been charged with federal program fraud in two complaints unsealed within the Jap District of New York on Thursday.

The officers had been charged as a part of ongoing investigations into abuse of sick go away amongst New York Metropolis Division of Corrections workers which have contributed to systemic and harmful understaffing within the metropolis’s jails.  

Between them, Correction Officers Steven Cange, Monica Coaxum and Eduardo Trinidad have been charged with fraudulently gathering greater than $380,000 in wage whereas on sick go away in 2021 and 2022. Whereas on sick go away, the officers submitted solid medical notes to the Division of Corrections.

The officers even bragged about their scheme on-line on social media accounts, in posts described by prosecutors on Thursday and listed within the criticism. 

In a single dialog the place Monica Coaxum shared photographs along with her household on WhatsApp of her partying whereas on sick go away, a participant chastises her: “Monica you residing your finest life however scamming your job.” 

“Sure at dwelling nonetheless getting paid, limitless sick child. Get like me! Dwelling my finest life,” Coaxum replied with a photograph of her and her fiancé, co-defendant Trinidad. 

The criticism towards Steven Cange paperwork his use of time, whereas on sick go away from the DOC, as a budding comedian guide writer after initially making an attempt to file for sick go away due to “vaccine unwanted side effects” and later due to bodily debilitating vertigo allegedly brought on by the COVID-19 vaccine.

Cange allegedly submitted roughly 90 medical notes and information to the Division of Corrections that had been fraudulent or solid. Cange claimed to go to Kings County Hospital 25 instances in a single 12 months in the course of the course of his infirmity, however information at Kings County Hospital documented just one go to. 

“As alleged, within the midst of an ongoing staffing disaster at Rikers Island, the defendants defrauded New Yorkers by fraudulently acquiring their full salaries whereas taking on a 12 months of sick go away,” United States Lawyer Breon Peace stated in a Division of Justice launch asserting the fees. “These correction officers deserted their oath to guard inmates and put the protection of their fellow correction officers in danger.” 

“These New York Metropolis Correction Officers feigned sickness and submitted false medical documentation to take sick go away throughout a staffing disaster, defrauding the Metropolis of New York of a whole bunch of hundreds of {dollars},” New York Metropolis Division of Investigation Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber stated. 

In an Oct 28 status report shared by the federal monitor appointed to supervise Rikers Island as a part of the Nunez v. N.Y.C. Division of Correction settlement, the Nunez monitoring crew led by Steve Martin reaffirmed that regardless of latest enhancements, “facility operations have been crippled by the variety of workers out sick mixed with the quantity who’ve restricted medical standing.” 

Within the years previous to the pandemic, DOC sick-out charges sat between 5-7 %, akin to FDNY and New York’s Division of Sanitation. However in the course of the pandemic, absenteeism at DOC and Rikers soared. Within the first 4 months of 2022’s monetary 12 months, the NYC Comptroller reporter that DOC’s absentee price for uniformed jobs was 27 %. 

Now, in keeping with the Nunez standing report, the DOC is working to revise their Sick Go away and Absence Management insurance policies for the primary time in 20 years.