BOSTON POLICE OFFICER CHARGED IN INJURY SCAM
BOSTON, MA - A Boston police officer was charged yesterday in federal court with fraud involving his work-related disability claim.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division and Commissioner Edward Davis of the Boston Police Department, announced today that ELIEZER GONZALEZ, 48, of Boston, was charged by Indictment with 34 counts of mail fraud. The Indictment was unsealed this morning in U.S. District Court in Boston.
The Indictment alleges that the City of Boston and a private supplemental insurer were defrauded by GONZALEZ who went out on injured leave after allegedly suffering on-the-job injuries in September 2007. GONZALEZ immediately began receiving tax-free injured pay and also filed for accidental disability retirement. According to the Indictment GONZALEZ greatly exaggerated and falsified both his injuries and ongoing physical issues and that he fraudulently collected both injured leave pay from the City of Boston as well as supplemental insurance benefits.
It is further alleged that GONZALEZ was surveilled and videotaped feigning injuries on or near the same days that he was recorded acting injury-free. GONZALEZ was required to attend regular medical appointments at the Boston Police Department Headquarters for evaluation. According to the Indictment GONZALEZ arrived at those appointments walking slowly with the assistance of a cane and accompanied by associates who assisted him during those appointments. It is alleged that prior to and after attending these medical appointments,
GONZALEZ was surveilled, videotaped and photographed walking normally without the
assistance of a cane. In May 2008, GONZALEZ appeared at a Boston Police Department medical appointment with assistance, using his cane, and acting debilitated. According to the Indictment, several days later, GONZALEZ traveled to Vietnam, toured Ho Chi Minh City, socialized with friends, and participated in various strenuous tourist activities in an unimpaired fashion and without the aid of a cane, and included videotaping himself riding on the back of a moped weaving through a crowded street.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “The allegations against Mr. Gonzalez are an affront to the honest men and women of the Boston Police Department. The fraudulent disability claims he allegedly made denigrate officers and other public servants who are truly disabled in the line of duty.”
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said, “The Boston Police Department will continue to take an aggressive stance on any individual who takes advantage of a law intended to protect officers who are legitimately injured on the job. I commend the Boston Police Anti-Corruption Unit for commencing this investigation and working closely with our federal partners. We are committed to maintaining effective community relations and will not tolerate violations of the public's trust.”
If convicted on these charges, GONZALEZ faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on each count of mail fraud.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Boston Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.
The details contained in the Indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.